Clare Reidy is SciFest STEM Champion 2021

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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Clare Reidy, a sixth year student from Our Lady’s Bower school in Athlone, Co Westmeath was named SciFest STEM Champion 2021 at this year’s SciFest National Final.

Her innovative research project explored Cosmic Radiation Protection, investigating effective building materials for future exploration of Mars.

Clare will now go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia next May.

Cosmic radiation consists of high-energy particles travelling through space. Clare’s project investigated whether bricks made from Martian soil (regolith) could be used to block cosmic radiation. She discovered that these bricks could offer effective protection against cosmic radiation and constructed an optimum brick using Martian regolith simulant as a primary component. Her discovery supports the use of Martian regolith bricks to protect future inhabitants of Mars.

Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education said: “SciFest continues to bring together some of the best and brightest minds of future generations and I am delighted to see so many young people who are passionate about STEM fields. These subjects are crucial for equipping the young people of today with the problem-solving and critical thinking–skills needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The level of innovation gives great cause for optimism now and into the future. I’d like to congratulate Clare for winning this award and applaud all those students who have participated in this year’s competition. I’d also like to commend the parents, teachers and mentors who have helped students throughout the process.”

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Clare for winning this year’s SciFest National Final. We received a tremendous number of entries this year and the standard was as high as we’ve come to expect from SciFest participants. At SciFest, our goal is to encourage a love for STEM subjects from an early age so it is really heartening to receive so many high-quality entries. The challenges posed by climate change and COVID-19 show the fundamental importance of science and that’s why it is vital that we continue to foster inquiry-based learning amongst students. In that vein I’d like to offer a sincere thanks and congratulations to all SciFest participants, their teachers and parents for all their hard work and continued enthusiasm for STEM.”

You can watch back the SciFest National Final 2021 Awards Ceremony

Other award winners at the final of SciFest 2021 were:

Award Name(s) Project details County
SciFest STEM Champion 2021 Runner-Up Award Caoimhe Walsh CAN-TEENS Make Better Food Choices? Cork
Berlin Long Night of Science Award Niamh Carolan,Líle Hensey Keep a Clear Head – An Investigation into the Observed Physiological Brainwave Effects, when present within Interfering Domestic Electromagnetic Fields Sligo
Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award Anna Smyth The Effects of Temperature on a Hydrogel-based Drug-Delivery System Dublin
Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award Runner-up Evan Wynne Self-Stand Chair, a Device to Help Standing up from a Sitting Position for the Elderly Dublin
Intel Technology Award Hari Pranavam Building an Automatic Weather Satellite Ground Station with Data Analytics Donegal
SciFest STEM Outreach Award Anna Cooper Interstitial Investigations – An investigation into the Lag Times between Blood and Interstitial Fluid when using Continuous/Flash Glucose Monitors Galway
SciFest Social Sciences Award Katie Harlow ‘It’s the Small Things’ – An Investigation into the Division of Emotional Labour in the Home and Suggestions on how any Gender Imbalances can be Rectified Roscommon
SciFest Life Sciences Award Ethan Kirwan,Jack Kelly Using Magnets to Help Prevent Heart Attacks Limerick
THEA Award Maeve Stillman Investigating the Effectiveness of Various Face Masks Against COVID -19 Virus and Aerosol Droplets Derry
ISTA Award Caleb Kiely,Binh Hanratty A Statistical Analysis of Young People’s Awareness and Attitudes to COVID-19 in Ireland Cavan
SciFest Scientist of the Future Award Lucy Teape, Kate Lehane Keep Calm and Carry On Breastfeeding Cork


SciFest’s main object is: To promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through the provision of a forum for students at local/regional/national level to present and display their scientific investigations.

Check out our list of science courses around the country.


What is STEM?

Steven Galvin

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