SciFest is an "all inclusive science fair, with no entry limits and a key aim to encourage school kids of all levels of scientific ability to enter".
It is a series of one-day festivals of science hosted by Institutes of Technology (ITs) around the country and really acts to encourage a love of science through enquiry-based learning and to provide a forum for students at local/regional level to present and display their scientific investigations.
This year, the first SciFest events will take place at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) on Tuesday April 5th; in Waterford IT on Thursday April 7th and in Cork on Friday 8th April.
The event then moves across the country until the end of May. For the full list of locations and dates see here.
Last year, a total of 2649 students exhibited 1097 projects across the country including such projects as 'Rushes as an Insulator', 'Is school deafening us?' and 'Searching for the progenitor stars of gamma ray bursts'.
SciFest was launched as a nationwide event in 2008 and since then, 6241 students have exhibited a total of 2613 projects. Clearly SciFest is going from strength to strength.
At the launch of SciFest 2011, then Minister with responsibility for science Conor Lenihan praised the event as a great example of government, industry and education sectors partnering to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM):
I'm really looking forward to judging at Friday's event. Having spent lots of last month being judged by students as part of I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here, it will make a nice change to be the one doing the judging!
This will be my second year judging and I was really impressed at the enthusiasm and hard-work shown by all participants last year. Fingers crossed for another great SciFest and best of luck to all those taking part around the country.