Today, at the start of Science Week 2017, the winners of ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2017 are announced as SOOEY NATIONAL SCHOOL from Sooey, Co. Sligo at primary school level, DAVITT COLLEGE, Castlebar, Co. Mayo at secondary school level, and COROFIN FORÓIGE CLUB at Community Level. Their short science videos were selected from almost 200 entries, produced by over 1,500 participants in 83 schools and community groups around Ireland.

Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges participants in schools and community groups to engage with science by producing fun and educational short videos. Since 2013, the programme has encouraged more than 8,500 participants in 300 schools and community groups nationwide to learn more about science and technology, while developing their communication and digital skills.

Selecting the best videos to share the €5000 prize fund were Trinity College Dublin Professor of Biochemistry and Fellow of the Royal Society Prof. Luke O’Neill, NASA and Lockheed Martin aerospace engineer Amber Gell and BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year 2017, Shane Curran from Terenure College Dublin.

All of these students should feel like winners, because they did an exceptional job with their entries. I had a lot of fun watching the videos and learning more about their favourite science concepts. You’re only as good as your competition and the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition clearly brings out the best in us. It stirs a healthy public interest in science and inspires so many great minds to compete.” Amber Gell

ReelLIFE SCIENCE enlists the help of over 100 science students and researchers each year and is directed by NUI Galway’s Dr. Enda O’Connell who said: “We were thrilled again this year with the reaction to the competition, particularly with so many new schools and community groups getting involved for the first time. We are always inspired by the knowledge and creativity shown by the participants in their videos and their passion for science and technology is clear to see. Congratulations to everyone who took part!

Winning and shortlisted videos can be seen below and will be shown to the public as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, held in NUI Galway on Sunday November 26th. All 2017 videos can be found on the ReelLIFE SCIENCE YouTube channel.

Results slide

Primary School Winners (€1000)

The judges selected ‘How the Immune System Works‘ produced by the 25 fifth and sixth class students of Sooey National School in Sooey, Co. Sligo, under the direction of teacher Thomas Egan. No strangers to the competition, Sooey NS also claimed first place back in 2014. Judge Amber Gell described the video as “very creative and entertaining!” and commented that “The students clearly had a blast filming this video and teaching about the concepts. That enthusiasm and understanding was well-conveyed and came across to the audience.

Secondary School Winners (€1000)

The video ‘The Death of Paul Donovan‘ produced by Fourth Year students from Davitt College in Castlebar, Co. Mayo under the guidance of teacher Fiona O’Connor, claimed the CÚRAM-sponsored first prize at Secondary School level. Described by Prof. Luke O’Neill as “very funny and original“, the video also impressed Shane Curran who said “The anecdotal style and storyline is very engaging. A lot of work done in preparation of the story and the techniques used in forensics.

Community Winners (€1000)

The Immune System Simplified‘ produced by members of the Corofin Foróige Group claimed the first ever CKI-sponsored First Prize at Community level. The video’s distinct animation style impressed all of the judges, with Amber Gell commenting “Very creative use of prop work. Did an exceptional job addressing the science using an appropirate medium in an informative yet entertaining manner. Well thought-out video, outstanding job!

Primary School Runners-Up (€300)

Third, fourth, fifth and sixth class students of St. Hugh’s National School in Dowra, Co. Leitrim combined to produce the futuristic ‘Lesson QX 17‘ runner-up video. Judge Amber Gell remarked that it was a “Very well-done video that took the creativity of concept to the next level. Blended abstraction with science, and presented the educational concepts and the learning environment in a manner which all students could relate to. I’m sure more students wish their classroom experience would be like this. Video editing and soundtrack were also extremely well integrated. Outstanding work!

Secondary School Runners-Up (€300)

The Science of Junk Food‘ produced by Fourth Year students from Coláiste Muire in Ennis, Co. Clare came in second place at Secondary School level. Prof. Luke O’Neill commented that it was an “important topic covered well‘ while Amber Gell thought that it “did a great job on explaining the science behind junk in a manner which was fun, entertaining and informative, ” and that it would be “a good educational video to use in academia and should be made available to K-12 teachers and shown in the classroom.”

Community Runners-Up (€300)

BrainMatTrain member Olivia Ng, with the help of her brother Orlando, produced the visually striking ‘A Drug for Parkinson’s‘ video, which used “exceptional graphics and drawings to effectively make “viewers aware of Parkinson’s disease“.

Primary School 3rd Place (€200)

In the Irish language video ‘Cén chaoi a oibríonn Balúin Aer The?‘, Fifth and Sixth class students of Gaelscoil Riabhach, Baile Locha Riach, Co. na Gaillimhe (ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2016 Winners), explain to Second class students how hot air balloons work. NASA engineer Amber Gell commented that “This video was well-done in presenting an interesting concept in a manner that transcended language barriers. Thoroughly enjoyed the aerial view with the students representing the molecules, running around inside the chalk-drawn balloon. Very creative!

Secondary School 3rd Place (€200)

Fourth year students from Coláiste Lorcáin in Castledermot, Co. Kildare claimed third place with their video on ‘Tides and Tidal Forces‘. Judge Amber Gell remarked “This video was very informative and addressed a concept that has crossed the minds of most people at some point. The students involved did a great job of explaining the physics and breaking them down in a manner that was easy to understand supplemented with good graphics.”

Community 3rd Place (€200)

Keira Corcoran from Westside Youth Project produced the video on ‘Volcanoes‘, a topic that captivates us all, under the guidance of youth worker Lucie Kantorova.

Primary School 4th Place (€100)

Fourth, fifth and sixth class students from St. Brendan’s NS, Hugginstown, Co. Kilkenny produced the entertaining video ‘The Digestive System‘, described by Amber Gell as a “creative feature that did a good job presenting a topic that usually triggers either the giggle-factor or the eww-factor in classrooms. Students seemed to have fun with it and this came across to the audience.”

Secondary School 4th Place (€100)

Fourth year students from Le Chéile Secondary School in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15 produced the video ‘Anatomy of Movement‘ Judge Shane Curran commended it on its “Very good use of video editing software to display the mechanics of how humans move and which muscle groups are used.”

Primary School 5th Place (€100)

Students from third and fourth class in Powerscourt National School, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow produced a video entitled ‘Sound and Hearing‘ described by judge Amber Gell as full of “good real life examples of the types of sound and the decibels associated with them.

 Secondary School 5th Place (€100)

Two St Mary’s College Galway Fifth Year students produced the video ‘How Does Sound Work?‘ commended by Judge Shane Curran as displaying “Very good background research and deep understanding of the subject.

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