Key objective of Science Week is to inspire young people to take up careers in area

Continuing to enhance our skills-base in research and innovation is essential, writes the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English. “Science Week is an opportunity to envisage what else is possible. Don’t miss out on the unique opportunities that Science Week presents.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English. “Science Week is an opportunity to envisage what else is possible. Don’t miss out on the unique opportunities that Science Week presents.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The 19th annual National Science Week, involving more than 800 events and 250,000 participants, will take place from 9th to 16th November this year. Co-ordinated by SFI Discover, the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, Science Week 2014 will explore and celebrate the ‘Power of Science’ at events in schools, colleges, research institutes, companies, libraries and community centres across the country.

Through a vast array of events such as Lego robotics in Laois, magic science shows in Donegal, crime scene forensics in Meath, a crystallography workshop in Limerick and virtual reality displays in Cork, Science Week 2014 offers the Irish public – young and old alike – a unique opportunity to explore the power of science and get ‘hands-on’ with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Local events

In addition to local events, science festivals will be taking place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Sligo, Mayo and across the midlands.

STEM education from primary school through to third level is essential for employment in Ireland’s current and future market.

Ireland is now established as a centre of excellence for scientific research. We need to continue to build on this so that we can all benefit and our young people in particular enjoy bright futures. Continuing to develop and enhance our skills-base in scientific research and innovation is vital to Ireland becoming a technology-led economy, delivering quality, sustainable jobs.

A key objective of Science Week is to inspire young people to take up studies and careers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is about showing young people what is possible through science and the exciting careers and opportunities that these disciplines can present to them. Through Science Week we aim to take science out of the lab and show how it is so much more than a ‘white coat’ profession.

Similarly, Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry initiative managed by Science Foundation Ireland that promotes STEM careers to post-primary students in Ireland, has already engaged with 28,000 students.

Smart Futures is committed to training 400 industry volunteers to engage with schools during the coming academic year. Such initiatives enable students to play a crucial role in developing a sustainable economy.

Motivate people

Science Week also seeks to demonstrate, to people of all ages, the importance and relevance of science to the future development of our society and economy. I hope the great range of events and activities on offer will motivate people to engage with science at home, in the classroom and at work.

Science can help to answer the what, the why and the how, while also revealing new questions. It is a problem-solver, helping to crack everyday challenges. What has the power of science enabled us to achieve and what else are we capable of? Science Week is an opportunity to envisage what else is possible. Don’t miss out on the unique opportunities that Science Week presents.

Log onto www.scienceweek.ie to see what events and activities are on in your local area. Connect on Twitter @ScienceWeek, on www.facebook.com/scienceweekireland and join in the conversation #SciWk2014.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy all that Science Week has to offer.

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