Galway Student Becomes First Irish Participant at the Brain Bee World Competition

Sep 19 2019 Posted: 14:20 IST

Michael Flaherty, a sixth year student at Coláiste Éinde in Galway City, will represent Ireland at the international Brain Bee World Competition, which takes place from 19-23 September, in South Korea. The Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition aimed at students in their later stages of second-level education and draws 30,000 students annually from over 30 countries. Students prepare for the competition by studying material on brain structure and function.

Michael was announced winner of the first Brain Bee competition in Ireland as part of the Brain Awareness Week events. The Irish leg of the competition, hosted by NUI Galway, was conducted by Galway Neuroscience, a community of academic staff and researchers. The inaugural Irish Brain Bee attracted 13 students from Galway City schools St. Joseph’s (the Bish), Salerno and Coláiste Éinde.

Professor John Kelly, Irish organiser of Brain Bee and NUI Galway Professor in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted to have got this competition started, and Michael will be a wonderful representative for the international competition.”

Emma Dalton, Michael’s Science Teacher at Coláiste Éinde, said: “I came across the Brain Bee competition through an email sent out to the Transition Year coordinator. It was such an exciting competition and something I would have loved to take part in myself as a student so I was delighted to offer this opportunity to my class. I was really proud when four of my Leaving Certificate students took on the challenge and added a book of neuroscience to their study plans.”

Michael said: “The road to competing internationally at the International Brain Bee World Championship in South Korea has been challenging, but I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to compete. Biology, especially neurobiology, has always piqued my interest. Learning more and contributing to further development in these fields is an aspiration of mine which this competition has definitely supported. This experience has been absolutely amazing and I am grateful to the people who have helped me along the way, mainly my biology and chemistry teachers, John Kelly and my family and friends, especially my fantastic sister Elizabeth who will travel with me.”

Financial support to help with Michael’s trip has been kindly provided by Galway Neuroscience and by Neuroscience Ireland.


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