12 festivals and 15 events will receive funding to improve public understanding of science and technology

Monday, 2nd July 2018 – Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD together with Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced investment of more than €470,000 through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for organisations to host Science Week festivals or events during Science Week, which takes place from the 11th – 18th November year. The funding provided through the SFI Discover Programme will support 12 festivals and 15 events across the country. Science Foundation Ireland are calling on businesses, communities and professionals to take part in Science Week 2018, which will be the biggest yet with over 1,000 events nationwide that encourage people of all ages and walks of life to be informed, inspired and involved in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Making the announcement in Cootehill, Co. Cavan today, Minister Humphreys, said: “As the world around us continues to evolve, encouraging more people in Ireland to explore science-related careers is a priority for this Government. However, in order to achieve this goal, we must ensure that our citizens have access to science at a local level. The investment in the Science Week festivals and events will provide an opportunity to reach new audiences in locations right across the country. Crucially, many of these festivals reach areas where we know there are lower levels of engagement in science. These initiatives will form part of a wider programme of over 1,000 events taking place throughout Ireland during Science Week 2018. Through the programme, people will be given a platform to celebrate research in their community, stimulate important conversations about science and participate in interactive experiences.”

Commenting on the announcement, Minister John Halligan, said: “Science, technology, engineering and maths all play a very important role in all of our lives and are vital for our economic prosperity. Science Week is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our scientific achievements and find out more about the research and discovery taking place throughout the country. I would encourage everyone to get involved, run their own event, volunteer at festivals or attend an event that will be happening countrywide. Let’s aim to make this year’s Science Week bigger and better than ever.”

The 12 Science Week regional festivals offer a range of opportunities for the public to engage in Science Week featuring family open days, schools outreach events and public talks across more than 20 counties across Ireland. Co-ordinated and co-funded by multiple partners, the Science Week festivals involve a programme of events which engage the public in STEM with a regional focus and celebrates science and research in the community.

This year sees the addition of a new festival – “WexSci, Wexford Science Festival” taking place throughout the County and will include an open day, family events and a science teacher conference. It is being organised by Wexford County Council in partnership with Waterford/Wexford Education & Training Board, Local Link Wexford and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The festivals that have been approved for funding in 2018 are:

  • Cavan Monaghan Science Festival
  • Cork Science Festival
  • EUREKA Science & Technology Festival
  • The Festival of Farming and Food
  • Galway Science & Technology Festival
  • Limerick Science Festival
  • Mayo Science and Technology Festival
  • Midlands Science Festival
  • Sligo Science Festival
  • Southeast Science Festival
  • Tipperary Science Festival
  • WexSci, Wexford Science Festival

Margie McCarthy, Interim Director Innovation and Education, Science Foundation Ireland said: “We know from research we’ve carried out that about half the Irish population feel uninformed about science, technology and engineering but that more than half are interested in these areas. Science Week is not only aimed at engaging and informing the public but also to normalise science in our everyday lives and creating a long-lasting appetite for science culture. The SFI Science Week funding allows us to support and invest in quality events that will take place across the country and allow us to reach as wide and as diverse an audience as possible. We’re really looking forward to seeing some of the exciting events and speakers that our festival partners have in store for 2018. We are also calling on communities and businesses to play their part in Science Week, by organising events during the week.”

In addition to the 12 festivals, 15 other events received funding under the SFI Discover Programme Science Week call. These include a range of different events for adults and children looking at topics including baking in space, technology in archaeology, astronauts, climate change, health and vaccinations, creativity, and Ireland’s astronaut candidates.

Events include:

  • Louth Libraries Science Week Library Programme - 40+ events over 2 weeks in Co. Louth
  • Seeing space from the islands - varied events including 3D show (celestial Journey) presentations and astrophotography workshops on Tory, Arranmore, Inishmore and Clare Islands.
  • Vaccines: Health, Trust and Evidence - panel discussions in regional venues to engage parents and young people to discuss the science and issues around vaccines

Science Week 2018 runs from 11th – 18th November nationwide. The full programme will be available in the coming months on www.sfi.ie.