More girls in the running for €7.5k Young Scientist prize
Girls outnumber boys among those taking part in the BT Young Science and Technology Exhibition in the RDS.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who launched the annual event yesterday, said "60pc of the participants are female this year".
Around 55,000 people will visit the RDS from today until Saturday.
BT Ireland managing director Shay Walsh told the participants: "You are the star attraction."
The stakes are high, with the individual winner or group set to pocket a cheque for €7,500, as well as the BT Young Scientist of the Year Trophy and the chance to represent Ireland at the European Union contest for young scientists.
Entries were whittled down to 550 projects involving 1,100 students.
Among them are stud-ents from St Mary's Secondary School in Glasnevin, who looked at the effectiveness of the 20/20 campaign in shifting Ireland's cultural perception, which has been designed to increase the visibility of women's sport.
The research was carried out by Rugile Auskalnyte, Aoife Scully and Aoife Hughes, who are three young female athletes.
Aoife Scully (16) said the campaign had been effective in terms of the fact that "the social media coverage has increased so much over the past two years".
Watching female sports games has definitely increased online and on TV, she added.
However, the girls' research indicated that more could be done to increase the rate of female participation in sports.
Their results found that the campaign is a "step in the right direction".