Research & Innovation

Three Irish schoolgirls win Google Science Fair

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Three Irish schoolgirls win Google Science Fair

Three Irish schoolgirls win Google Science Fair
September 23
09:07 2014

Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow from Kinsale Community School were last night named the overall winners of the Grand Prize as well as the 15-16 Age category at the Google Science Fair in California.

The Science Fair competition is Google’s way of encouraging the next generation of scientists and engineers. The overall grand prize includes a 10-day National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos Islands, a visit to the Virgin Galactic Spaceport in New Mexico, and US$50,000 in scholarship funding.

The three students from Kinsale Community School in Cork – who won the BT Young Scientist & Technology Award in 2013 – won the Grand Prize as well as the  15-16 Age Group category for their project entitled “Combating the Global Food Crisis: Diazotoph bacteria as a cereal crop growth promoter.”

The girls’ project investigated the use of diazotroph bacteria as a cereal crop germination and growth aid.

They carried out an extensive study on crops of wheat, oats and barley and statistical analysis of their results indicated that naturally occurring Rhizobium strains of the diazotroph bacteria family accelerated germination by up to 50pc and, in the case of barley, increased yields by 74pc. Not only could this discovery address food poverty, it could also reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint by reducing the use of fertiliser.

Ciara Judge spoke movingly at the recent Digital Ireland Forum about how children are crying out for digital skills to be taught in Irish schools.

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