Environmental, economic and societal issues are just some of the issues seized upon young pupils at schools across Co Cavan competing at the BT Young Scientists Exhibition.
A total of 550 projects made it to exhibition stage this year, among them representing four schools from Co Cavan- St Bricin's, Belturbet; Breifne College, Cavan; Dun na Ri College, Kingscourt; and Virginia Vocational College.
Aimee Reilly who completed a statistical investigation of traffic which identified one third of all drivers in Kingscourt incorrectly use roundabouts is one of seven projects to emerge from Colaiste Dun an Ri in Kingscourt.
Others include Illona Mc Carty, Eabha Garvey and Caoimhe Byrne who explored habitats at Dun an Ri Forest Park; and Kelsey Buckland-Morris, Hana O Connor and Kayla Mahon whose study examined the prevalence of waste segregation and influences in Cavan/Monaghan.
Oisin Raymond meanwhile compared deduction and logical reasoning upheld by those in urban and rural areas; Alex O' Reilly, Cein O' Rourke, and Max Kelly examined the mineral Gypsum; Jessica Dodd looked at people’s knowledge on processed meats; and Linda Kelly carried out a study on rural men and their perception of SPF in the fight against skin cancer.
Mentoring the students in Kingscourt were Lorraine Hickey, Michelle Hough, and Megan O’ Brien.
In Virginia, transition year students Emily Murphy and Grainne Walsh, mentored by Dr Miriam Nugent, examined 'How do the senses combine to influence taste?', deriving their project from Home Economics Class, where they tried different brands of the same food.
St Bricin's College in Belturbet last won the National Young Scientist award in 1984 when Seamus Fitzpatrick, Siobhan Murray and Geraldine Nicholl under the guidance of teacher Tommie McMahon took an agricultural project to the finals.
This year the mantle has been passed onto separate groups of students exploring two very topical projects, titled ‘Facebook Depression, is it Real?’ and ‘Border Towns and Brexit’.
Kayleigh Brady, Marina Lago and Paula Ivanova, make up the group working on Facebook Depression, is it Real? This project is about the effects of social media use on teenage moods, with second group comprising of Ciaran Egan, Kamil Podgajney and Jake Rodgers. Their project is based around the Brexit process and specifically how it will affect our local area and the border with Northern Ireland.
Finally, a group of students at Breifne College are examining the thoughts and opinions of parents and students at their school on the issue of gender neutral toilets. For their project they used surveys to calculate what people thought about the initiative.
The exhibition, now in its 54th year, is expected to be attended by more than 50,000 people throughout the week.
As well as the shortlisted student projects on display, there are a further four exhibition halls filled with cutting-edge science and technology-based exhibits and entertainment.
Final judging takes place later today, with Young Scientist or Scientists of the year being crowned at a grand ceremony which in the BT Arena of the exhibition hall, starting from 5.30pm.