AN IRISH secondary school is celebrating after three of its students won the prestigious €7,000 EU Young Scientist competition.
Kinsale Community School was overjoyed after its team of Ciara Judge (15), Emer Hickey (15) and Sophie Healy-Thow (15) beat entries from 37 other European countries to take the top prize at the Czech Republic finals.
Last January, the Kinsale team scooped Ireland's Young Scientist title.
And it was a remarkable achievement for Ciara Judge, who also managed to deliver Ireland's best Junior Cert results two weeks ago by scoring 12As.
Fittingly, the students received their prize from former Irish TD and minister and now EU Science Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.
The Cork girls' winning project examined how a particular bacteria (diazotroph) impacts on plant germination.
Their project on seed germination has already received worldwide plaudits because of its many potential commercial applications.
Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said she was particularly impressed by their entry. "The future is bright if this is the level of talent we are producing. It is particularly great to see the mix of curiosity-driven research and more applied projects," she said.
The Irish students celebrated their triumph in front of their proud parents who had travelled over for the Prague finals from Kinsale.
Best of all, they also received a special award, which includes an invitation for them to take part in the London International Youth Science Forum later this year.