BT Young Scientist and Technology winners return victorious from European contest

Irish students land overall third place and the prestigious DuPont Prize

Winning formula: Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura Pic: Fennell Photography

The Irish winners of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2016 have gone on to steal more glory today in Brussels.

Talented Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura won third prize overall in the 28th European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).

The girls received €3,500 and were also awarded the DuPont Prize - earning them a trip to DuPont’s science and engineering plants in Denmark.

The fifth year students, from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, represented Ireland at the European competition with their award-winning project - ‘An investigation into the effects of enzymes used in animal feed additives on the lifespan of caenorhabditis elegans’.

The study looks at the effect of animal feeds on soil fertility, which earned the top prize at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January 2016. The project provides new evidence of potentially detrimental effects on the environment, a significant finding with implications for the food industry.

Speaking from Brussels, Maria-Louise said: "We are proud to be recognised on an international stage alongside so many talented young scientists and entrepreneurs from across Europe.

"This experience, on the back of our win in January, has given us a platform to share our ideas with the industry, build on our original research and potentially make a real difference to the environment."

Since the European Contest began in 1989, Irish students have performed at the highest level at the EUCYS, winning 39 prizes overall and earning the top spot on 14 occasions. In 2015, all three Irish students that attended the EUCYS in Milan claimed prestigious prizes.

As the winning pair return home with their title, students across Ireland are reminded that there are only nine days left to enter BTYSTE 2017.

As one of the world’s biggest and longest running science exhibitions,BTYSTE is internationally renowned for its role in nurturing talent, entrepreneurship and a love of science and technology.

Each year, the winning entrants are given the opportunity to attend EUCYS and represent Ireland at international level. Entering couldn’t be simpler - for details.

EUCYS is a European Commission initiative, created in 1989 as an annual showcase of the best projects developed by young scientists from countries across Europe.

Now in its 28th year, the contest aims to promote the exchange of ideas between young scientists and to attract young people to careers in science and technology.

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