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More students than ever have applied for next year's BT Young Scientist

And most of them are female.

THE BT YOUNG Scientist competition has received a record number of applications from the highest number of students in its 51-year history.

Some 4,616 students made 2,077 entries before the application deadline on 1 October, which is a 4% rise since last year – the event’s 50th anniversary.

Some 367 schools had entrants this year, from every county on the island except for Fermanagh and Armagh, according to a statement from organisers.

Later this afternoon, a spokesperson for the organisers confirmed that out of the 4,616 students who applied, 1,186 had entries accepted.

That’s up from 1,157 last year.

Significantly, 61% (724) of the students who had their entries accepted, and 54% of those who applied, are female.

However, just 39% of the overall winners have been female, over the 50-year history of the event.

Colm O’Neill, CEO of BT Ireland, which has sponsored the event since 2001, said:

We’ve now hit a new record with the 51st exhibition, receiving more entries than ever before and giving an unprecedented number of students an opportunity to be recognised and rewarded for their talent.

RECORD NUMBER OF ENTRIES TO THE 51ST BT YOUNG SCIENTIST & TECHNOLOGY EXHIBITION Source: Shane O'Neill Fennell Photograph

The Young Scientist competition is divided into three age groups: Junior (for 1st and 2nd years), Intermediate (for 3rd and 4th years), and Senior (for 5th and 6th years).

Last year, 120 prizes were awarded in four categories: Social and Behavioural Sciences; Technology; Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences; and Biological and Ecological Sciences.

The 2013 overall winners – Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Throw – went on to win the prestigious Google Science Fair in California last month.

The 2015 BT Young Scientist Exhibition will take place at the RDS in Dublin from 7-10 January 2015.

Read: Irish schoolgirls take home grand prize at Google Science Fair>

Meet the 14-year-old boy trying to build a nuclear reactor in his shed in Mayo>

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Dan MacGuill

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