Hellyer College student Declan Fahey feels at home in the lab.
The 17-year-old was yesterday presented with the award for most promising young scientist at the Tasmanian Science Talent Search.
''I really enjoy the research process and to be confronted with a problem,'' he said.
''I'm very analytical so I love the lab environment and problem-solving.''
His project - looking at the potential of using the Midlands as part of Tasmania's food bowl - impressed the judges.
''It was investigating the impact of salinity on potato crops,'' he said.
Declan developed a formula to predict whether a crop would retain or lose water based on the level of salinity in the groundwater supply.
The year 12 student hopes to continue his studies in science or medical research at university.
About 330 prizes were awarded in the talent search on the theme of Energy Evolution: Sustainable Energy for All.
The theme for next year's competition, launched yesterday, is Australian Science through the Ages.