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BT Young Scientist: South East Regional College students win NI award

By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

image captionThe Department of Education permanent secretary Derek Baker presented the award to Izzy McConkey, Kerri-Melissa Burns and Sarah Scannell

Three students from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have won Best Northern Irish Project at the 2019 BT Young Scientist of the Year competition.

Izzy McConkey, Kerri-Melissa Burns and Sarah Scannell studied how natural food extracts affected insulin secretion from pancreatic cells.

The winners of the prestigious awards were announced in Dublin on Friday.

It is the 55th year in which the competition has been held.

Thousands of pupils aged 12-19 enter every year with a range of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related projects.

The overall winner of the BT Young Scientist of the Year was 17-year-old Adam Kelly from Skerries Community College in Dublin.

He won €7,500 (£6,693) and will represent Ireland at the EU contest for young scientists, which takes place later in 2019.

As well as the individual project award, SERC was also named best Northern Ireland school.

Other local students and schools received further prizes.

Oran Timoney from Holy Cross College in Strabane received the Royal College of Surgeons award for his project on cardiovascular disease.

There was also success for pupils from St Mary's College in Londonderry and St Mary's Grammar in Magherafelt.

The Department of Education's permanent secretary, Derek Baker, was in Dublin to present some of the Northern Irish students with their prizes.

The world-renowned astrophysicist, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnel, who is originally from Northern Ireland, also attended the awards ceremony.

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