Monday 8 October 2018– Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan T.D., today announced five new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Centres under the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) programme. The five new centres will bring the total number in Ireland to fifty-nine.
The network of SFI Discover Centres support schools to engage in science education outside of the classroom by offering workshops and activities accredited by the SFI DPSM programme. The programme aims to introduce primary school students to science in a practical, hands-on, enjoyable and interactive way. SFI Discover Centres are hosted by various amenities across Ireland and include Dublin Zoo, Waterford Nature Park, Dingle Ocean World and Ailwee Caves to name a few.
The official launch took place at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin. The five new centres which will expand the current network are:
- Arigna Mining Experience (Co. Roscommon) which will explore ways in which people use the earth’s resources and the themes of energy past, present and future.
- Bricks 4 Kidz Creativity Centre (Dublin City and Wexford Town) which will provide LEGO Technic workshops focused on imaginative and multi-sensory fun.
- Laois Outdoor Education (Co. Laois) which will provide a guided tour of Emo Court and nature and science walks.
- Cool Planet Experience (Powerscourt Centre, Co. Wicklow) where students will learn the science behind climate change, how it affects us and what we can do to help.
- The National Reptile Zoo (Co. Kilkenny) where students will learn about reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates with a vast array of species.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan T.D., said: “Science Foundation Ireland's Discover Centres will play an important role in fostering innovation and motivating our young people to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. These SFI Discover Centres are of critical importance as we need to inspire the next generation of inventors, problem solvers and creative thinkers. Encouraging school children to interact with and explore STEM in new ways will help us achieve this, and I wish each new centre the best of luck.”
Margie McCarthy, Interim Director of Innovation and Education at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SFI Discover Centres Network was established in 2005 and over the past thirteen years has expanded significantly. Science Foundation Ireland is committed to extending the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths programme beyond the classroom, which supports the National STEM Education Policy Statement. This network offers an ideal opportunity for teachers to bring STEM to life for students, in an informal setting. Engaging students in STEM outside the classroom in a practical and interactive way is central to Science Foundations Ireland's Education and Public Engagement programme outlined in the SFI Strategic Plan - Agenda 2020.”
To promote the network of SFI Discover Centres and to highlight the opportunities for schools to participate in STEM education, Science Foundation Ireland have launched the new SFI Discover Centres brochure which is available online here: http://www.sfi.ie/engagement/discover-primary-science-and-maths/discover-centres/. The brochure provides an overview of all fifty-nine centres, the DPSM programme and awards.