Outside help

Last month, the Young Scientist of the Year contest was won by a kid who found  new kind of antibiotic in blackberries.

There was some minor controversy afterwards, as it came out the kid had access to some facilities in a third level institution.

It seems the use of outside facilities is allowed under the rules of the Young Scientist competition, provided it is acknowledged by the entrant, something that was done in this case.

Kevin O’Sullivan wrote a followup to the row, quoting UCC academic Tadhg Ó Cróinín who said “Every entrant can pick up the telephone to a university or college for help if he or she needs equipment, or help.”

So I sent in a Freedom of Information request to University College Cork asking for:

  • Records relating to granting permission for access to UCC facilities
    and laboratories by Young Scientist winner Simon Meehan
  • Records relating to general policies on access to such facilities by
    second level students for the Young Scientists competition or other
    projects.

Here’s the reply I received:

“the record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain its whereabouts shave been taken.”

Make of that what you will.

Young Scientist fallout – tweet from Kevin O’Sullivan

Freedom of Information reply (pdf)

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