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Speech by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., Opening – BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, RDS

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Thank you Shay – for your introduction and for your commitment to the Young Scientist Exhibition with BT over the past 20 years.  It is a remarkable legacy. 


Every year I visit these stands I am blown away by the work of a new generation.  Your imagination, your determination, and your vision for a better future. 


It also makes me feel a little inadequate.


So it is a special pleasure to be here to open this Exhibition this year – an Irish gathering of world-class research and ingenuity.


This event gives me hope.

It gives me confidence that the future of our country and the future of our planet is bright.


The greater the challenge, the greater the response.


Climate change, gender equality, a better society –the challenges of our century are driving your biggest ideas.


Of course ideas matter.  This exhibition reminds us that action matters as well.    So many of us have good ideas that we let wither and die.  You remind us of what can be achieved when we turn those ideas into action.


Over 1,000 students, over 500 projects, over 200 schools – you represent Ireland at its best.



You are the innovators of tomorrow, the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the leaders of tomorrow. 


Your imagination, your courage, and your determination is making a difference.


I also want to give a massive ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ to Professor Brian Cox. His work has encouraged us to be more curious about the world around us – encouraging us to innovate – and to investigate.


I also welcome all of you participating in the Primary Science Fair, because thanks to your teamwork we are helping to answer the big questions facing our world today.


The calibre of projects you are producing leaves me in no doubt that you will be challenging to win the Young Scientists Exhibition in a few short years.


This year over 50,000 people will visit your stands. It’s a remarkable tribute to the quality of your research and a testament to the way the exhibition is run.  My thanks to Shay, Mari, their team,  and the team here in the RDS.


This competition challenges the very best across our country and encourages you to be the best.  Last year Adam Kelly won this competition and he followed up by winning the EU Contest for Young Scientists, and then had an asteroid named in his honour when he won the international science and engineering award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona.


That’s pretty amazing.


Congratulations on your achievements Adam, and good luck in your future endeavours.


Our ambition in Government is to nurture STEM talent and we want to especially tackle gender bias.  I find it reassuring that 60% of participants here today are female because it shows that our strategies are helping to bring about the change our society needs.


Science and Maths isn’t just for the boys.


So many projects here suggest  change is coming.  I commend Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, on their investigation of whether confidence effects their interest in pursuing a career in STEM.


Lanesboro Community College, Longford, on whether gender drives subject choice at Senior Cycle and beyond.


Naas Community College on whether females drop out of sport earlier than males.


And St Mary’s Secondary School, Glasnevin, and their investigation into how we can shift Ireland’s cultural perception and participation of women in sport.


We see projects on technological innovations, on climate change, on healthcare and on wellbeing.


Creativity in motion, ideas being translated into action.


As my favourite poet, Maya Angelou, says: ‘You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.’


Regardless of the results here on Friday night I encourage you to keep innovating, to keep creating and to keep using your imagination to create a better world.


Thank you.