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Merck Hosts 20th Annual Schools Science Competition to Foster STEM Education

Samira Heckett and Hannah Curtin of Midleton College who were the overall winners of the Merck School Science Competition, pictured with Mark Dunphy, Site Director, Merck, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. (Picture: Adrian O’Herlihy) May 10th 2024

Merck, a leading global science and technology company, held its annual Schools Science Competition on Friday, May 10th in the Radisson Blu, Little Island. This year’s event showcased the ingenuity and creativity of students from five local secondary schools, who presented their innovative science projects.

This year marks the 20th edition of the competition, which has been a cornerstone of STEM education in the local community for the past 24 years. Despite a brief hiatus during the pandemic, the competition has continued to thrive, thanks to the support of teachers and volunteers within Merck.

St Fanahan’s Mitchelstown, St Mary’s Midleton, Midleton College, Midleton CBS and Carrignafoy Community School Cobh participated in the annual Schools Science Competition. The Merck Schools Science Competition serves as a platform to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among young minds. By encouraging students to spark their curiosity and explore scientific concepts and develop practical solutions, Merck aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators. 

At the event, guest of honour, Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Finance, emphasised the crucial role of initiatives like the Merck Schools Science Competition in promoting STEM education and preparing students for future careers. ” “I congratulate the students, their teachers and the volunteers from Merck who supported them in the research they have undertaken. Events like these play a vital role in encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM fields, which are essential for driving innovation and economic growth. I am hugely impressed by the broad range of projects from the schools represented in the competition and the findings presented which are both practical and timely.”

“We are delighted to once again host this inspiring event, which highlights the importance of STEM education in shaping the future,” said Mark Dunphy, Site Director and Head of Cork Operations at Merck. “At Merck, we are committed to nurturing talent and enriching a passion for science among students. The dedication and creativity demonstrated by the participants are truly commendable.”

The competition not only provides students with an opportunity to showcase their scientific knowledge but also encourages them to consider pursuing careers in STEM fields. Merck believes in empowering students to explore their potential and make meaningful contributions to society through science and innovation.

In addition to the competition, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about Merck’s innovative work in the fields of membrane technology and biotools. Representatives from Merck’s new site in Blarney Business Park were also on hand to showcase the company’s commitment to advancing life sciences and driving innovation in the region.

The winners of this year’s competition are Hannah Curtin and Samira Heckett from Midleton College for their project “Microplastics in Crabs”. Hannah Curtin said: “We are incredibly honoured and grateful to have been selected as the winner of the Merck Schools Science Competition. This experience has not only allowed us  to showcase our passion for science but has also opened doors to a world of possibilities in STEM fields. I’d like to thank our secondary school for their encouragement and guidance throughout this journey.”

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