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SSPC and iCRAG partner for National Crystal Growing Competition 2021
January 8, 2021

Pictured: Dr Sarah Hayes, SSPC at the Bernal Institute, University of Limerick with previous winners. Picture: TrueMedia.

Friday 8th Jan. – Science Foundation Ireland research centres iCRAG, the SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences, and SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, have announced the start of the 2021 National Crystal Growing Competition. The competition challenges primary and post-primary level students to grow a single crystal, judged by expert scientists at the iCRAG and SSPC research centres.

Back by popular demand, the very successful National Crystal Growing Competition will challenge participants to grow crystals using ingredients readily available in the home, pharmacies, and hardware stores. This iteration of the competition has been specially designed for parents struggling to find appropriate activities for home-school science lessons during this period of school closure. It’s the perfect solution for all the young budding scientists out there.

Elspeth Wallace, Education and Public Engagement Officer for iCRAG commented: “We are delighted to be once again working with SSPC to run such an innovative competition. At this moment in time, it is so important to find ways to engage with Irish students at home through which we can continue to encourage and develop their scientific interest. The National Crystal Growing Competition is an exciting challenge for both primary and post-primary level students.”

Dr Sarah Hayes, Associate Director Academic Partnerships & Public Engagement for SSPC added: “We have always had a very high quality crystals submitted to this competition and a high level of energy and dedication shown by the students and their teachers. As someone who appreciates the beauty and importance of crystals, it excites me to see the competition back in action. I can’t wait to see what the fantastic young scientists out there come up with.”

The National Crystal Growing Competition is an important element of SFI’s public engagement remit. The aim of the competition is to have fun with science and also inspire young minds to explore careers in the field. The competition is open to primary and post-primary students in Ireland and aimed at students who were challenged to grow a single crystal from a variety of compounds such as: Salt (Sodium chloride or Potassium chloride), Alum, Sugar, or Copper sulphate.

To enter the competition, participants must send a picture of their crystal to experts at iCRAG and SSPC before the closing date of April, 16. More information, including crystal recipes and growing instructions can be found on the National Crystal Growing Competition website, bit.ly/crystalcomp.

The competition originated in 2014 with the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Crystal growing competition, as part of the celebrations for the International Year of Crystallography. It has since grown from strength to strength and is a great addition to the many SFI outreach programmes hosted in Ireland.

iCRAG is hosted at the University College Dublin and SSPC at the University of Limerick, both working with a host of partners.



Point of contact for media query – 

Louise O’Neill, SSPC Communications Manager.

Phone +353 (0)61 234675. Email: [email protected]

Dr Fergus McAuliffe, iCRAG Communications Manager

Phone +353 (0)1 7162941. Email: [email protected]

About SSPC

SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, is a hub of Irish research expertise developing innovative technologies to address key challenges facing the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry. The aim of SSPC is to deliver industry-relevant technical solutions, which result in job growth and retention within this sector in Ireland and grow the skills base of qualified scientists and engineers. SSPC works with nine higher-education institutes (HEIs) including Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Cork, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Royal College of Surgeons, WIT and its host University of Limerick.

Our unique and innovative culture of collaboration is helping the global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry to develop more environmentally sustainable methods for drug manufacturing; to increase the range of medicines available to the public and to reduce drug manufacturing costs. SSPC’s advanced research programme extends from Molecule, Materials and Medicine into the Manufacturing and Modelling space.

Follow SSPC on Twitter: @SSPCentre, Instagram: @SSPCentre, YouTube and LinkedIn or visit our website: www.sspc.ie

About iCRAG

iCRAG is the SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences. We are a team of researchers creating solutions for a sustainable society. We develop innovative science and technologies to better understand the Earth’s past, present, and future and how people are connected to it.

We drive research in areas that are critical to society and the economy, including:

  • Sustainable   discovery   of   energy   resources   and   raw   materials required for decarbonisation.
  • Securing and protecting groundwater and marine resources.
  • Protecting society from Earth’s hazards such as flood and landslides.

iCRAG, the world leading SFI Research Centre in applied geosciences hosted by UCD, comprises 150 researchers across eight universities and institutions   including   NUI   Galway.   iCRAG   is   supported   by   Science Foundation Ireland, the European Regional Development Fund, Geological Survey Ireland and industry partners.

Follow iCRAG on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn or visit www.icrag-centre.org.

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