Secondary students win Trinity College Dublin E3 Global Challenges Award

Posted on: 12 January 2021

Two students (Yaduvir Harhangi and Marton Goz) from Synge Street CBS, Dublin, won the Trinity College Dublin E3 Global Challenges Award for their team project at last week’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).

This award, supported by Trinity’s Faculty of STEM and it’s E3 initiative, promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing societal challenges.

Yaduvir and Marton won both the Trinity College Dublin E3 Global Challenges Award and First Place Senior Group in the Chemical/Physical & Mathematical category at BTYSTE 2021.

They asked an innovative question as part of their research: Can mathematical modelling be used to guide public health policy during evolving patterns of infection as in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Their project, entitled Analytical Solutions of Compartmental Epidemic Models and Their Application to Parameter Estimation, was especially topical as it focused on developing useful models to predict COVID-19 infection rates over time and in three key population groups.

The predictions were based on the changing numbers of people who at any one time are 1) virus-free, 2) infected, or 3) are now immune to infection.

Professor Áine Kelly, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education at Trinity, presented the award via the BTYSTE digital platform. She said:

“We are delighted to have sponsored this special award and warmly congratulate Yaduvir and Marton. It is always heartening to see an affinity and passion for STEM in young students and Yaduvir and Marton clearly demonstrated those two things.  

“This project epitomises the importance of STEM to addressing global challenges. The mathematical models these students developed aim to accurately predict the changing goalposts that public health policy-makers are likely to be faced with over time, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve. We were very impressed, both by their ambition to address a problem of significant, global importance, and by the quality of their work. We wish them all the best in their future studies – maybe we will be lucky enough to welcome them to Trinity one day.”

The BTYSTE gives secondary students the chance to engage in hands-on science and technology research. Students – working alone or in teams – design and perform research in a chosen area of interest before presenting their projects.

This year the 57th annual BTYSTE exhibition was held virtually for the first time in its history due to COVID-19. Over 2,500 students entered their ideas from schools all over Ireland and there were attendees from all over the world, as the BTYSTE online was able to go global.

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