Poll: What do you think of research and researchers?
Share YOUR views ahead of Discover Research Dublin
The EU-funded project has been likened to a Culture Night for Researchers, allowing academics to showcase their projects and findings. It takes place every year on the last Friday in September, with this being the third year Trinity acts as host in Ireland.
Organisers expect more than 7,000 people to come and view the 60-plus talks and activities taking place (about 3,000 visited the event in its first year).
Prof Cliona O’Farrelly, from the School and Biochemistry and Immunology, says it helps the college attract new students and extra funding, while encouraging researchers to apply for European grants. “We want to public to be really supportive of what’s going on so to encourage our politicians to continue to support,” she says.
She adds: “A public perception of research is that it is something that goes on in ivory towers behind closed doors that only very specialised people can engage in. In fact, research is an activity that is carried out by a huge diversity of people at lots of different levels, working on many diverse topics, many of which are directly relevant to everyday life.”
Shane Bergin, a physicist who also specialises in communicating science to the public (he was behind the Dart of Physics campaign which appeared on Dart trains a couple of years ago) says giving people access to scientists and science can help break down barriers around the subject.
“Conversation is key, because if we learn things through the process of having a conversation about it that’s much more powerful than just being told and accepting. I hope Discover Research Dublin will achieve that.”
Organisers also stress that the night isn’t all about science, although it is a major component. The English, history, linguistics and other faculties associated with the humanities will also be showcasing their projects.