RTÉ seeks ‘accessible and popular’ science proposals

Science Foundation Ireland has given the broadcaster €500,000 to increase its output

Power in the Blood: The Story of the Irish Thoroughbred: Ella McSweeney’s documentary is a good example of the type of production proposal RTÉ is seeking

Power in the Blood: The Story of the Irish Thoroughbred: Ella McSweeney’s documentary is a good example of the type of production proposal RTÉ is seeking

 

Science Foundation Ireland, the statutory body that promotes science, technology, engineering and maths, has given RTÉ grant funding of €500,000 over the next 12 months to develop peak-time science programming on RTÉ One.

The joint pilot initiative will “help both organisations achieve their shared objectives of making science and technology more relevant to Irish audiences”, they say. Accordingly, RTÉ has updated its commissioning brief for independent producers, calling for science-themed documentary projects (one-offs or multi-part series) with a maximum cost of €130,000.

The proposals must be “relevant to Irish audiences”, but the commissioners aren’t looking for personal profiles or science history pieces. SFI is apparently “keen to work with RTÉ in supporting projects that have general appeal and that are subtly related to science, technology and engineering”.

RTÉ One channel controller Adrian Lynch says the SFI support will help it increase its science-themed output on the channel and build on its recent “accessible and popular” science-related programming, such as Joe Brolly: Perfect Match, Unbreakable: the Mark Pollock Story, Tommy Bowe’s Bodycheck and Power in the Blood: the Story of the Irish Thoroughbred, Ella McSweeney’s one-off documentary about the science of the thoroughbred industry, which RTÉ made in association with Horse Racing Ireland.

Week-long event

RTÉ’s deadline for submissions is June 19th, while it is also hoping to secure funds for this project from the next round of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision scheme, which has a closing date of July 9th.

Expect this science event to bear all the hallmarks of that broadcasting sector jargon “360-degree commissioning”. RTÉ’s brief states that the “far-reaching” proposals should not only have the potential to be stripped across RTÉ One in peak time with live components, they should have “supporting digital accompaniments”.