Desmond College and Salesian College in running for BD STEM STARS award

BD STEM STAR winners 2021, Aoife Lee and Emma Brennan, Desmond College, Newcastlewest, with their winning project ‘Exercise is Key’. Photo: Alan Place.

Desmond College in Newcastle West is one of four Limerick schools which are in with a chance of landing one of the largest schools’ competition prize funds in the Mid-West after making it into a shortlist of five for the BD STEM STARS (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Awards Final this Thursday. Desmond College will be joined by inaugural competition winners Thomond Community College, Salesian Secondary School, Pallaskenry, and Coláiste Nano Nagle, Sexton Street, in the final at the BD Research Centre Ireland (RCI) facility at the National Technology Park.
The finalists will demon-strate their projects to the judges on the day and will hear from BD RCI’s Site Director Padraig Fitzgerald. They will also get a tour of the cutting-edge labs in the high-tech facility before the winners are announced.
The outright winner of the competition will receive a €10,000 prize to go towards supporting STEM education, as well as the STEM STARS trophy. The second placed school will receive a €6,000 cheque, with €4,000 for third place. Commendation awards of €1,000 each will go to the finalists.
The high quality and diversity of projects developed by the finalists augurs well for the future availability of STEM talent in the region. Salesian Secondary School in Pallaskenry has carried out an investigation into the use of external electrical stimulation in the treatment and management of Reynaud’s disease; Desmond College is putting forward a wearable early warning system to alert children and their parents of UV rays that cause skin cancer; Thomond Community College is exploring how to reduce incidents of concussion in high impact sports; and Coláiste Nano Nagle has developed an accessibility app for visually impaired people that allows them to shop independently.