13 regional festivals and 13 individual events supported by Science Foundation Ireland with funding to improve public understanding of science and technology

Monaghan, Wednesday 21st August, 2019 – Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced an investment of €476,000 through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), to support 13 festivals and 13 events across the country as part of national Science Week. The festival takes place from the 10th –17th of November this year, with a theme of climate action - seeking to help people understand it, how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change.

SFI, the national foundation for investment in research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), coordinates Science Week annually through its SFI Discover Programme and provides funding for projects and events to improve public understanding of science and technology. Businesses, communities and institutions are invited to take part in Science Week 2019, which is expected to reach over 1,000 events nationwide.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Humphreys, said: “I am delighted to announce this important investment of €476,000 in Science Week festivals and events through SFI, which will help a diversity of citizens to access science at a local level across the country. Scientific literacy and understanding are an important facet of a modern and progressive society. We are in a time of disruptive change which can greatly impact society, be it in areas of health, climate, or in artificial intelligence and big data impacting the workplace. As outlined in the whole-of-Government plan, Future Jobs Ireland, we are answering the future needs of our businesses and workers by ensuring a steady pipeline of people with STEM skills, in preparation for tomorrow’s world.”

The 13 Science Week regional festivals will offer a range of opportunities for the public to engage in Science Week. They feature family open days, school events and public talks across the regions.

Minister Halligan said, “Ireland has a world-class reputation for research and development. It is important that we work together to create a culture that embraces science and technology to give all members of our society equal access to learning and experiencing STEM. Science Week is a great opportunity for us to do this, and to demonstrate the clear benefits that STEM offers to society. I am delighted to see so many key stakeholders working to deliver this fantastic festival, which helps us to build greater public engagement and trust in the scientific research we fund. I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

Throughout Science Week there will be a variety of ways for the public to get involved and find out more about our amazing planet through events, interviews, social media and much more. The public can get involved by finding an event to attend on here or following #BelieveInScience online.

The climate theme will be weaved into the programme, with events such as ‘Alchemy and Innovation’ at Cool Planet Experience in Wicklow. This is a chemistry workshop where adults look at alternatives to plastic. There will also be climate themed shows and workshops for both adults and children taking place across the country (e.g. Dr Ken Farquhar’s How to Save the Planet in 45 minutes, Dr Naomi Lavelle’s Eccentric Energy show, 60 Minute Science - Carbon Hoofprint, a solar powered toy inventor workshop).

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland said, “Science Week is an exciting opportunity for people in all kinds of communities in Ireland to connect with science and to consider its value and relevance in their everyday lives. It broadens our horizons and gives everyone the opportunity to get involved in conversations about the critical role of science, especially when it comes to important global issues like climate change. The funding of Science Week provides essential support to many fantastic events across the country that will inspire the next generation of scientists. I invite all members of the research community, businesses, libraries, arts and youth groups, and institutions to actively engage with their local community and to consider organising events.”

The festivals that have been approved for funding in 2019 are:

  • Cavan Monaghan Science Festival
  • Cork Science Festival
  • EUREKA Science and Technology Festival
  • Festival of Farming and Food
  • Galway Science and Technology Festival
  • Kerry Science 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

In addition to the 13 festivals, 13 other events have received funding under the SFI Discover Programme Science Week Call, which include events for both adults and children. They span topics such as climate change, health, baking in space, future fashion and much more. The full programme will be available in the coming months on www.scienceweek.ie.