Friday, 14th June 2024: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O'Donovan TD, today announced 419 primary schools nationwide have been awarded the SFI Curious Minds Award 2024.

Led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the programme aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among primary school students, parents, and teachers, nationwide in a fun, engaging way. 

Announcing the 2024 Curious Minds Awards at a visit to Kilbehenny National School, Knockrour, Kilbehenny, Co. Limerick (Platinum award-winners), Minister O’Donovan said: “I am delighted to announce the winners of this year’s SFI Curious Minds Awards. Congratulations to all involved – your individual and collective dedication and effort has paid off! Curiosity about science provides the building blocks to explore new ideas, increase knowledge and even unearth discoveries. I want to thank the schools and teachers who have facilitated such enthusiastic and productive participation among their students.”

The SFI Curious Minds Awards celebrate and recognise the participation of schools in hands-on, inquiry-based learning in STEM. Since launching twenty years ago, the programme has seen students exploring a wide range of STEM activities, from investigating renewable energy, egg drop challenges, growing vegetables, launching rockets, mini-beast hunts, learning about materials and maths through baking, design and make challenges, marble runs, enhancing their technology skills through coding, and using STEM to solve everyday problems. 

The Awards offer three categories for applicants: The Silver Award is aimed at schools starting out on the STEM journey and involves a minimum of two classes. The Gold Award, which is for schools further along their STEM journey, involves at least half of the classes in the school. The Platinum Award is for schools that have already achieved the Gold Award and want to challenge themselves to further integrate STEM into the school culture. This year, 47 schools received the Silver Award, 346 schools achieved the Gold Award, and 26 schools accomplished the Platinum Award. 

The schools’ achievements were celebrated in classrooms across the country during a virtual SFI Curious Minds Awards Ceremony held this morning, Friday, 14 June 2024. TV presenters Gráinne Bleasdale and Phil Smyth hosted a live-streamed event, which featured a number of exciting experiments. 

Commenting on the awards, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at SFI, said: “The SFI Curious Minds Awards are a true highlight of the year, and reward the active and ongoing involvement of thousands of pupils nationwide in STEM-related activities. The winners’ interest in STEM inspires other pupils – both younger and older – to get and stay curious, all of which helps to build a culture and community of exploration and learning.”

The SFI Curious Minds programme supplies tools to empower schools in teaching science, technology, engineering and Maths, allowing teachers to spark fun and curiosity both inside and outside the classroom. SFI, in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO), offers free continuous professional development (CPD) in STEM for primary school teachers, as well as curriculum-linked STEM classroom resources. The programme explores STEM topics through inquiry-based learning. The programme also offers a varied selection of Department of Education-approved summer courses with partners like ESERO Ireland, MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Applicants who complete a summer course will be eligible for EPV days. 

Registration for the 2024/2025 Academic Year SFI Curious Minds Awards will open in September 2024. Registration for the CPD courses for 2024/2025 are open now. For more information on the SFI Curious Minds programme, please visit www.curiousminds.ie or contact the team on  


Total Awards: 419 awarded  
Platinum Award: 26 awarded  
Gold Award: 346 awarded  
Silver Award: 47 awarded  
DEIS Schools: 117 awardees for 2023/2024 
Gaelscoil: 23 awardees for 2023/2024 
Special Schools: 5 Awardees for 2023/2024