In 2015 the ‘Science in Ireland Barometer’ found that just 48% of the Irish public feel informed of research and developments in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).  The Barometer also found that while almost 90% of the public value the contribution of STEM to our society and recognise the importance of STEM education and research 71% say that these areas are too complex for them to discuss or engage with.

Technology, science and engineering touch many aspects of daily life in Ireland, from the increased use of smart phones to choices we make about transport to information about our health. Many of the challenges facing the country in the future - including food production, health while living longer, sustainable energy, climate and security issues - will all rely on the contribution of STEM for solutions.  For Ireland to make the right decisions it is essential to engage the public more in the conversation.

SFI has worked with RTÉ over the last three years to make challenges, developments and discoveries in science, engineering and technology more accessible to the public through television and digital media content.  With the potential of broadcast output on all platforms to reach wide audiences, this initiative has helped to break down the complexity of science, identified by the Irish public, by exploring how STEM is so much at the heart of our everyday lives and the potential for our futures.  This joint initiative will continue to support projects that take pioneering research and developments in Ireland and place them in real stories that are relevant and appeal to a broad audience.

From building smaller, longer lasting batteries to medical devices that suit our bodies to more sustainable housing materials, endeavours are underway to create better ways for us to clothe, house and protect our growing populations in sustainable ways.

Climate Change is arguably the biggest challenge humanity faces today.  We have seen a concerted effort from communities across the globe to address and meet the commitments made to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement 2015, where the world united to fight climate change.  This challenge cannot be met through one action, but many actions working in parallel.  Responsibility for change, and the need for innovation, is shared by the individual, communities, industry and policymakers.

SFI and RTÉ are seeking proposals for a large scale, themed/event piece consisting of three hours of output that has strong, popular science-based themes at heart. Proposals can be for 6 x 30 minute projects or 3 x 1 hour projects and can be live, pre-recorded or a hybrid of both. Consideration will also be given to individual one-hour projects.  The successful proposal[s] should be available to broadcast during Science Week 2019, which runs from November 10th to November 16th.

Submissions are invited for content that deals with the adaptation and mitigation actions required to respond to Climate Change. The content should have strong, popular appeal and be relevant to Irish pre-watershed audiences. Proposals should be underpinned by how this content can help Irish society understand, own and be part of the movement to adapt and mitigate climate change. The content should help provide greater clarity around the challenges and the opportunities that innovation presents in addressing decarbonisation.

The content should engage audiences by using creative, novel approaches and embedding the science, technology or engineering into real stories. All proposals should clearly demonstrate how editorial lines have been developed though collaboration between STEM researchers and content producers.

Proposals can be authored or presenter led and should, in all instances, reflect the contribution of science, technology, engineering and maths in contemporary Irish society.

To this end this call will include a briefing session to be announced through RTÉ and Science Foundation Ireland shortly. This session will provide more insight to the RTÉ SFI joint initiative and this particular call.

All proposals should be far-reaching in their ambition, using fresh approaches to engage a non-science seeking audience in science conversations.  Proposals must be scientifically sound and will require the input of a science professional[s] either in an advisory role or a direct collaboration role from the outset of the programme development. Proposals should clearly indicate the name[s] of the scientific, technological or engineering expert/ collaborators on the projects, the role they will play in the project and confirmations of their involvement.

Proposals are encouraged to demonstrate the scope of the programme to broaden its reach and educational impact through supporting digital accompaniments such as websites, apps, social media for example.

Budgets for all proposals will be to a maximum of €120,000 per hour. Please note that budget ranges are indicative only and proposals that can achieve lower costs per hour will be particularly attractive.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system here, under the programme category Factual Specialist “SFI 2019”. 

Closing date for submissions is Monday 20th May @ 12.00 noon