left: Competition judge Katherine Donnelly (Irish Independent); competitors Daniel Ryan, Artemisa Jaramillo, Fergus McAuliffe, Maria Boyce, Kevin Roche; compere Kevin Myers (Irish Independent) and judge Tom Boland (HEA).
Kevin Roche (24), from Gorey, Co Wexford, impressed the judges with his work on developing new materials for repairing tooth cavities that would not require the services of a fully qualified dentist.
Kevin says that the problem with some materials used for filling tooth cavities is that they don't stick very well and a lot of drilling is needed. His research is uses a material called glass-ionomer cement that sticks directly to teeth, eliminating the need for drilling. However it can crack easily under stress, so he is now focussing on mixing it with materials akin to what makes real teeth, to make it tougher.
The Making an Impact competition is a joint initiative of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Independent, which invited entries from research students in any discipline in higher education.
The two winners will receive cheques for €2,500 each, sponsored by the Irish Independent, after a final involving a 10-minute presentation in front of an audience of students, and a question-and-answer session with three judges.
They were selected on the vote of the audience and the judging panel, comprising: Eucharia Meehan, head of research with the HEA; Tony Donohoe, head of education with the employers' organisation IBEC; and Katherine Donnelly of the Irish Independent. The competition was compered by Irish Independent columnist Kevin Myers.
For Irish Independent article, click here.