Ireland’s Best Science Filmmakers Honoured at Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway

Students from Powerscourt NS, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow with teacher Rachael Kinkead, Science Foundation Ireland Senior Executive Laurie Ryan and ReelLIFE SCIENCE Director Dr Enda O’Connell at the 21st Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway. Photo by Andrew Downes.
Nov 27 2018 Posted: 14:36 GMT

Judge Dara Ó Briain helps select prize winners from Wicklow, Kilkenny, Galway, Carlow and Dublin schools and community groups

Tuesday, 27 November 2018: Science filmmakers from Wicklow, Kilkenny, Galway, Carlow and Dublin were honoured at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway for winning the nationwide ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition.

More than 1,250 science enthusiasts from 80 schools and community groups around Ireland entered the competition, and the winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including aeronautical engineer and astronaut-candidate Norah Patten, BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year 2018, Simon Meehan and comedian and TV presenter Dara Ó Briain, who said: “I was delighted to be a guest judge in this year's competition and see how much enthusiasm, knowledge and energy is pouring out of Science classes across the country!"

A group of 24 third and fourth class students from Powerscourt National School, along with their teacher Rachael Kinkead, won first prize at Primary School level for their video ’Science and Me: The Skin’, presented by Laurie Ryan, Senior Executive - Education and Public Engagement with Science Foundation Ireland. Primary school runners-up were Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway, while Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál from Carlow finished third.

Transition year students Emer Tobin and Katherine Morrow from Loreto Secondary School Kilkenny, claimed the Secondary School award, presented by Director of the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Professor Abhay Pandit, for their short film about Rosalind Franklin, who was instrumental in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Sixth year St. Mary’s College Galway students Jakub Szymonik and Alex Polchowski were runners-up, while Skerries Community College fifth years Sam Enright and Adam Kelly were third.

Seán Janson from Lackagh Foróige group in Lackagh, Co. Galway demonstrated the ‘Science of Smashing’ with equations, experiments and “tons of personality” to achieve first place at Community level, presented by Dr Muriel Grenon, Director of the science education and outreach programme, Cell EXPLORERS. Members of the Westside Youth Project in Galway City were runners-up with a video about volcanoes, while third place went to the Galway Parkinson’s Association for ‘Living with Parkinson’s’.

Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, the Cell EXPLORERS science education and outreach programme and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools and community groups to communicate science and technology via engaging and educational short videos. Since being launched in 2013 by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 10,000 participants in 350 schools and groups around Ireland.

Special guest judge Norah Patten said of the programme: “I think this is a fantastic initiative because the students are not only learning about a scientific topic - they are also developing skills to communicate what they've learnt. These types of hands on, practical projects will be really valuable as they progress through to the next stage of their career.”

All videos can be viewed at


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