Site of the week: www.science.ie
Minister for Science, Technology and Commerce, Noel Treacy, recently launched this site of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) awareness programme, which is managed by Forfas. Treacy described it as "an ambitious project, and one which really can be called a portal - because it is aimed at opening the door to science and technology for young people, students, and business people."
The site aims to assist the key objective of the programme - raising the level of perception of science, technology and innovation with young people, Irish business, opinion leaders, the media and the community at large.
So, does it live up to the promise? At the moment, no. However, there are some very good aspects to it. One great idea is the "role models" section. With the study of science suffering from an image problem in recent years, listing famous people who have science degrees should go some way towards reversing that.
Did you know, for instance, that model Natasha Byram is an analytical science graduate? Or that comedian and TV presenter Dara O Briain is a graduate of mathematical science?
The site aims to help young people to find out about the types of careers that science qualifications can lead to (and no, it is not thought to give you a head start in modelling, comedy or TV), but the relevant page currently features a "watch this space" sign. This is the bane of web surfers and makes them wonder why sites launch before they are fully ready.
The "calendar of events" section is excellent. It seems to have included everything connected with science that's happening in the coming months. The only slight problem is that you have to view it in Adobe format, but once you've downloaded the reader it is a great resource. Science.ie is by no means perfect, but it is early days yet. Over time, it aims to become a site that will act as a resource for everyone interested in science. It should serve as a point of contact, an information vehicle and a place to have a bit of fun.