Minister Harris Announces €5.2 Million Investment by Science Foundation Ireland in 49 Public Engagement and Education Initiatives
22 March 2021: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, today announced a national investment of €5.2 million through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. The funding will support 49 public engagement and education initiatives that aim to improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and engage a wide audience of people with STEM topics.
The projects cover topics including biodiversity, STEM sign language, climate action and sustainability, coding, epilepsy, understanding pandemics, digital wellbeing, and the link between music, maths, and physics. The initiatives also target a wide range of ages including young children, teens, and adults as well as some initiatives designed for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and attending DEIS schools and those living with sight loss.
Speaking about the announcement Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce the 49 projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme. As we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are more conscious than ever of the importance of supporting the public to have access to and to understand the issues that impact our collective future, and the role science and technology can play in providing solutions. These projects will play a role in starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and inspiring our young people to explore careers in these areas. I wish all the recipients every success in the roll out of their projects.”
The awards will see a number of projects supported including:
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society said: “The SFI Discover Programme is a key part of our education and public engagement activity. It aims to support projects at local level, as well as at regional and national levels, to stimulate engagement and understanding with STEM. Recently, we published the SFI Science in Ireland Barometer 2020. This research enables us to have better understanding of the public’s attitude to science and provides evidence to inform and shape how our education and public engagement initiatives meet the needs of the people of Ireland. These projects will play a key role in supporting the public to better understand the evidence behind challenges we have collectively face, and the choices we need to make in the future. We are looking forward to working with these exciting and creative education and engagement programmes, making the excitement and importance of STEM more accessible to a wide diversity of people.”