CRANN package to introduce nanoscience to Irish classrooms

22 Nov 2011

Irish secondary school students will be able to dive into the world of nanoscience courtesy of a new educational package by CRANN titled ‘Nano in My Life’.

The package will introduce transition year and senior cycle students to nanoscience, the study of materials at very tiny dimensions, which is set to become part of the proposed new Leaving Certificate syllabi.

‘Nano in My Life’ is designed to encourage students to relate science subjects to innovative careers, with exciting and challenging applications. There are seven modules, each using a range of teaching and learning approaches, including video captured at CRANN, designed to engage students and encourage active learning.

“There is a real need to introduce secondary school students to cutting-edge nanoscience research which is driving innovation, providing jobs for highly skilled graduates and is now forming an important part of studying science at third level,” said Mary Colclough, CRANN’s communications and outreach manager.

“CRANN is at the cutting edge of nanoscience research, which has the potential to revolutionise a number of industries, so we feel it is important to open students’ eyes to the opportunities that will be available in the future and hopefully inspire the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.”

Ireland and nanoscience

Nanoscience is an area in which Ireland excels and which is a key enabler for innovation and economic growth.

About 10pc of Irish exports (€15bn) are enabled by nanotechnology, with tens of thousands of jobs in the ICT and medical devices sectors dependent upon this research.

Ireland is ranked sixth in the world for nanoscience research and eighth for materials science research (a branch of nanoscience), with CRANN, the SFI-funded nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, enabling the majority of this research.

Prof John Boland, director of CRANN, said ‘Nano in My Life’ is an example of how the third and second level education systems can work together to promote the uptake of subjects like physics and chemistry. 

“At times, it is difficult for secondary school students to relate what they are studying in their textbooks with their everyday lives, but we are in a unique position to cast a spotlight on what the future holds for the whole area of research and its return to Ireland’s smart economy,” Boland said. 

“Our ultimate ambition for the programme is to see students who have used the package working alongside us at CRANN in the years to come, perhaps graduating through Trinity College’s N-PCAM degree programme.”

Along with the launch of the ‘Nano in My Life’ package, CRANN has announced a national poster competition open to senior cycle students in association with the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA).  Competition entrants will be asked to depict a new product involving nanotechnology using the information they have learned from ‘Nano in My Life’, thus linking scientific research with innovative applications.

To apply for the package, contact

In advance of Dublin City of Science 2012, is hosting Science November, a month dedicated to news, reports, interviews and videos covering a range of Irish science, research and innovation.