Two Northern Ireland schools have excelled in the prestigious BT Young Scientist and Technology Awards in Dublin.
St Mary's College, Londonderry, was named Best School From The North of Ireland. The school entered seven projects, the highest ever from a local school.
Ballyclare High landed the University of Ulster Special Award for its project, an investigation into finding an alternative to petroleum-based inks to prevent food contamination from packaging, by students Meg McWhirter and Rebekah McNeill.
Education Minister John O'Dowd congratulated the young scientists from Northern Ireland who took part.
He said: "St Mary's College and Ballyclare High can be justifiably proud of their achievements.
"The exhibition featured 550 projects this year - illustrating the success of the competition and, more importantly, the level of interest in Stem subjects in schools across Ireland.
"During my visit to the event I was struck by the passion of the students taking part.
"If we are serious about creating the world-class economy our Programme for Government aims for we must provide young people with the skills and qualifications necessary to enable us to compete on a global scale.
"I commend the work of teachers in schools across the north who are bringing 'Stem' subjects to life for their pupils and who are enabling us to work towards that vision.
"Above all, the young people themselves deserve credit for the standard of work on display and I was encouraged to note that 17 local schools and one further education college entered projects.
"The experience of competing in such a prestigious event will have been of benefit to all who took part and I wish these talented young people well as they continue their studies and enter the world of work."
The 2012 Young Scientists of the Year are Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly from Synge Street, Dublin.
Their project was Simulation Accuracy In The Gravitational Many-Body Problem.