Transition year student Eileen Reidy has won first prize in the agricultural category of the Green Dragon competition, held at Croke Park on 28 March . This national competition, sponsored by Agri Aware, aims to encourage entrepreneurship in young people. For her work on hydrogels, Eileen was awarded a trophy, €700 for herself, €250 for her school and a staggering €7,000 has been made available to develop her project commercially. Eileen will now compete in the European finals in July.

In her work, Eileen investigated the use of hydrogels to coat different types of plant seed. These are polymers which can hold up to five hundred times their weight in water, greatly reducing the need to water the plants. Eileen has already won recognition for her work on hydrogels at the BT Young Scientist competition in January, where she was awarded third place in her category for her project on smart seed delivery systems. In this latest venture she has brought her research a step nearer to eventual commercial exploitation.