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Merck, a leading global science and technology company, held its annual Schools Science Competition on Friday, May 10th in the Radisson Blu, Little Island. This year’s event showcased the ingenuity and creativity of students from five local secondary schools, who presented their innovative science projects.

This year marks the 20th edition of the competition, which has been a cornerstone of STEM education in the local community for the past 24 years. Despite a brief hiatus during the pandemic, the competition has continued to thrive, thanks to the support of teachers and volunteers within Merck.

St Fanahan’s Mitchelstown, St Mary’s Midleton, Midleton College, Midleton CBS and Carrignafoy Community School Cobh participated in the annual Schools Science Competition. The Merck Schools Science Competition serves as a platform to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among young minds. By encouraging students to spark their curiosity and explore scientific concepts and develop practical solutions, Merck aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.

At the event, guest of honour, Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Finance, emphasised the crucial role of initiatives like the Merck Schools Science Competition in promoting STEM education and preparing students for future careers.

“I congratulate the students, their teachers and the volunteers from Merck who supported them in the research they have undertaken. Events like these play a vital role in encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM fields, which are essential for driving innovation and economic growth. I am hugely impressed by the broad range of projects from the schools represented in the competition and the findings presented which are both practical and timely.

We are delighted to once again host this inspiring event, which highlights the importance of STEM education in shaping the future,” said Mark Dunphy, Site Director and Head of Cork Operations at Merck. “At Merck, we are committed to nurturing talent and enriching a passion for science among students. The dedication and creativity demonstrated by the participants are truly commendable.”

The competition not only provides students with an opportunity to showcase their scientific knowledge but also encourages them to consider pursuing careers in STEM fields. Merck believes in empowering students to explore their potential and make meaningful contributions to society through science and innovation.

In addition to the competition, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about Merck’s innovative work in the fields of membrane technology and biotools. Representatives from Merck’s new site in Blarney Business Park were also on hand to showcase the company’s commitment to advancing life sciences and driving innovation in the region.

The winners of this year’s competition are Hannah Curtin and Samira Heckett from Midleton College for their project “Microplastics in Crabs”. Hannah Curtin said: 

“We are incredibly honoured and grateful to have been selected as the winner of the Merck Schools Science Competition. This experience has not only allowed us  to showcase our passion for science but has also opened doors to a world of possibilities in STEM fields. I’d like to thank our secondary school for their encouragement and guidance throughout this journey.”

For further information about Merck and its initiatives in promoting STEM education, please visit

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare, and electronics. More than 64,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From providing products and services that accelerate drug development and manufacturing as well as discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere.

About the Merck Schools Science Competition

For the past 24 years the Merck School Science competition has been a tremendous success in fostering an interest in STEM subjects among local secondary school students with this year being the 20th edition of the competition due to a brief hiatus during the pandemic. It presents a rewarding challenge to schools whereby teams can showcase their knowledge of one of the scientific disciplines in an exciting and fun environment for TY students.

The criteria for the projects was quite broad with any project falling into the category of STEM being considered for the competition. 20 volunteers from Merck spent time at all schools, making three visits over the course of 5 months, while also being in regular contact with teachers and students between the visits. The volunteers encourage and challenge the students to raise the standard of their projects by lending their experience on any and all topics the students are working on. Students are only considered while they are in transition year as we feel they have adequate time during transition year to complete the projects. It also offers an opportunity to students who would not have been selected for BT Young Scientist to use some of the great work they would have done in this format.

Merck is a premier partner with I Wish in inspiring young females to take up STEM subjects.