Limerick students’ seed planter yields a winning harvest

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Jack O'Connor and Diarmuid Curtain
Jack O'Connor and Diarmuid Curtain from Desmond College Newcastle West with their prize-winning seed planting device.

TWO county Limerick teenagers are about to travel to a remote corner of sub-Saharan Africa as winners of one of the top prizes at last year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

A hand-held seed-planting device developed by Jack O’Connor and Diarmuid Curtain from Desmond College, Newcastlewest won the Science for Development Award for the project that best addressed a development challenge facing communities in poorer regions of the world.

Jack and Diarmuid received the Irish Aid sponsored €5,000 travel bursary for the seed planter which they designed to save both time and labour, and bring precision to seed planting.

As part of their prize, they will join a group of 20 students and teachers from across Ireland on a schools study visit to Malawi with Gorta-Self Help Africa, next month.

Previous winners of the Science for Development Award have included young inventors of solar powered water purifiers, cooking stoves, solar refrigeration and seed storage.

The award was established by the Development Education unit of Gorta-Self Help Africa in 2006, to encourage teachers and students to develop ideas, using appropriate scientific technology, that address challenges faced by people in the Global South. It is sponsored annually by Irish Aid.

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This year’s award will be presented by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs Helen McEntee at next weekend’s Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in Dublin’s RDS.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Minister McEntee said it was exciting to see students from across Ireland applying their scientific knowledge to find solutions to challenges faced by people in the Developing World.

“I look forward to discussing all the great projects with the students at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and am delighted to be presenting the Science for Development Award this year,” she added.

More than 2,000 student projects were submitted to this year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and over 550 projects will be exhibited at the annual science fair which runs from January 10 to 13.

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