Research & Innovation

Minister English announces €1.6 million new funding for projects to promote science, technology, engineering and maths to the general public

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Minister English announces €1.6 million new funding for projects to promote science, technology, engineering and maths to the general public

Minister English announces €1.6 million new funding for projects to promote science, technology, engineering and maths to the general public
February 12
15:03 2015

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) today announced €1.6 million in funding for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) educational and public engagement projects in Ireland. Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI) and delivered through SFI’s education and outreach programme SFI Discover, the funding will support 39 initiatives designed to encourage people of all ages to develop an active and informed interest and involvement in STEM.  It is estimated that over 4.5 million people will engage with the various projects over the course of 2015.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD and Dr Ruth Freeman, SFI

Announcing the funding at an event at Farmleigh House in Dublin today, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD said, “A key factor for multinational companies considering creating jobs in Ireland is access to a skilled and qualified workforce in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The programmes being funded through SFI Discover will open up the vast range of career opportunities available in STEM sectors to young people. It will future-proof the flow of STEM graduates and ultimately enable Ireland to attract further investment from international companies and to grow and maintain jobs.” Minister English added that “this objective is also reflected in the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 which contains an action aimed at stepping up collaboration between government, industry and education through SFI’s Smart Futures to raise awareness of STEM career opportunities for post-primary students.”

Some of the SFI Discover funded projects include:

  • Brain Freeze 2, a science-based animation series developed by Kite Entertainment in association with CBBC and RTE;
  • MakerDojo, a hardware or ‘hacker’ style club delivered by Tyndall National Institute, Biomaker Fórma and DesignerDojo, where the public can explore science and technology in a hands-on, self-directed fashion, aiming towards a culture of garage inventors and entrepreneurs;
  • DART of Physics, a project which encourages thousands of commuters to think about physics in a different way through a poster campaign on the DART;
  • Blackrock Castle Observatory will introduce a range of family-friendly experiments to encourage visitors to explore the concepts behind space science, complemented by a new video exhibition focused on Irish space scientists and STEM careers.

A number of SFI Discover’s strategic partners including SciFest, The Festival of Curiosity and National Maths Week have also received funding. These projects complement current SFI projects such as National Science Week, the Smart Futures initiative and work carried out by the SFI Research Centres nationwide to engage and inspire the public in STEM.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at SFI added: “The fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics are interlinked with the future prosperity of our economy and society. SFI is committed to stimulating interest in, excitement and debate about STEM among the general public through SFI Discover. The projects to receive funding were assessed by international experts and selected based on their potential to promote awareness and understanding of the importance and relevance of STEM to everyday life and to reach new audiences not normally engaged with STEM, as well as continuing to target existing audiences. The funding will enable the recipients to invest in developing and extending their capacity and allow them to explore innovative channels of public engagement with STEM subjects.”

The SFI Discover Programme seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and maths by catalysing, inspiring and guiding the best in STEM education and promotion. It is a key element of SFI’s Agenda 2020 Strategy which includes the aim of having the most engaged and scientifically informed public in Ireland.

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