President urges students at BT young scientist show to share 'wealth of talent'
President Michael D Higgins has called on school students to share their knowledge with people on other continents.
Opening the 53rd BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin, Mr Higgins told thousands of pupils, teachers and guests that humanity would flourish if the possibilities of science and technology were diverted from war and the arms industry to peace and sustainability.
The event featured a record 2,091 project entries and 550 projects being put on show by more than 1,000 students.
There were 528 projects from the Republic and 22 from Northern Ireland.
Mr Higgins said his hope was for the student to treat scientific and technological innovation as a global common good.
He said: "Scientific and technological innovation have such a vital role to play in creating new solutions to the great challenges of this century - ecological challenges, such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the pollution of our air, water and soil, but also development challenges, such as hunger and malnutrition, infant mortality, pandemics, and so many other afflictions that shatter the lives of millions of men, women and children across the world.
"There is so much that humanity could gain, so many ways in which it could flourish, were the appalling waste of the possibilities of science and technology to be deflected from the goals of war and the armaments' industry to the tasks of peace and sustainable development."
Mr Higgins said the projects entered into the competition were important for future generations in Ireland and around the world.
More than 50,000 visitors are expected at the RDS during the exhibition and the winners will be announced on Friday.
Mr Higgins said to guests: "When I look at the astonishing variety and originality of the projects you have undertaken, drawing inspiration from the world around you, establishing connections between different subjects and areas of knowledge, I feel confident that you will know to use this wealth of imaginative talent to foster human development, ecological harmony and peace."
"It is greatly uplifting to be in the presence of so many young people who think about life and the world around them in such caring and adventurous ways - young people who are willing and able to lead us towards a future full of possibilities."