Kinsale Community School is overjoyed after its team of Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow beat entries from 17 other American and world schools to take the top prize in the Google Science Fair 2014. The Fair took place at Google’s San Francisco HQ on September 21.
The girl’s coveted prize is a €30,000 scholarship from Google and an all-expenses paid field study trip to the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution. They will also get the chance to sample astronaut training with NASA.
Ciara, Emer and Sophie were chosen as finalists for their project, in which they investigated the use of natural bacteria to assist food production by increasing crop output. The trio’s work, which commenced in 2012 and has continued to this day, showed that natural bacteria in the roots of plants such as peas and clover could improve the growth of other valuable food crops such as wheat, oats and barley. This innovation would produce substantially increased food yields and reduce fertiliser use, potentially making a significant difference to improving food security and reducing the impact of intensive agriculture across the globe.
The Irish trio has seen off extremely stiff competition, initially becoming a leading project from across Europe, Middle East and Africa before being selected as one of the final five global finalists in their age group.
The students had previously competed in and won both the 2013 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and the EU Contest for Young Scientists.
Over 100 students in Kinsale Community School are currently working on projects for next January’s 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.