Limerick students all set to become BD STEM stars

This year's winner of the BD STEM STARS Award Maha Shahzadi from Coláiste Nano Nagle with BD RCI Site Director Padraig Fitzgerald.

LIMERICK schools are set to pit their STEM smarts against others from across the Mid-West in the biggest awards programme in the region aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

The 2023 BD STEM STARS awards, which is an initiative of med-tech company BD’s ‘Research Center Ireland’ (RCI) in Limerick, will deliver a €10,000 award to go towards STEM facilities in the winning school, with a further €10,000 divided between second and third placed schools.

Closing date for entries in the BD STEM STARS, which is supported by the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, is this Friday, December 9, with a project submission deadline of Feb 10.

BD is a leading medical technology company with over 70,000 employees worldwide. It established its Limerick centre in Plassey in February 2017 as a global research and development hub.

The secondary schools programme is one of a number of STEM promotional activities which also include its bursary and scholarship programmes for students at the University of Limerick.

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BD STEM STARS aims to promote participation in STEM subjects and demonstrate how they can be applied to solving real-life health issues, with participating schools entering projects based on concepts that seek to tackle unmet health issues.

Senior Scientist at BD RCI Sorcha O’Byrne said:  “Whether it’s a vaccine or the latest mobile-phone app, we all use products in our daily lives that have their foundations in STEM subjects.

“For the advancement of science, technology, engineering and maths, and to ensure a robust talent pipeline, we need to encourage the next generation to take STEM subjects. The BD STEM Stars competition is an excellent opportunity to showcase what you can do with what you learn in the classroom.”

Last year’s winner of the competition was Maha Shahzadi from Coláiste Nano Nagle for the development of an accessibility app for visually impaired people that allows them shop independently.

Other projects included Salesian Secondary School in Pallaskenry, who explored external electrical stimulation in the treatment and management of Reynaud’s disease; Desmond College, Newcastlewest for their wearable early warning system to alert children and their parents of UV rays that cause skin cancer and  Thomond Community College for exploring how to reduce incidents of concussion in high impact sports.

Event organiser Fionnagh Tsang said that interest and anticipation around STEM Stars continues to increase each year.

“Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a past winner who attended the awards ceremony to support their school in the final. This student now studies Cyber Security & IT Forensics in University of Limerick,” she added.