SFI 2020 Discover Programme funding call ‘has never been so important’

24 Apr 2020

Image: © Roman Stetsyk/Stock.adobe.com

SFI has put out a call for applications to its Discover Programme, saying it is keen to support public engagement projects through the coronavirus pandemic.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has issued its call to science communicators and STEM enthusiasts to take part in this year’s Discover Programme. Its aim is to stimulate and support projects that extend activity and ability in engaging the public in STEM with an emphasis on greater diversity and inclusion.

Successful applicants will be funded to create debate and conversation among the public on STEM topics. This could include stimulating an appreciation of STEM’s impact on society or attracting those not who are not typically engaged with the various scientific fields. The funding will last for a duration of two years.

Applicants have until 10 June to submit their proposal, with SFI saying in its pitch that this year’s call “has never been so important”. It added that a pre-recorded webinar is available for applicants to watch prior to submitting their application.

A need for scientific understanding

“As we are living through the Covid-19 pandemic, SFI is more conscious than ever of the importance of supporting the public to have access to and to understand the complex science underpinning crises such as this, in the context of their lives, their health, the health of their loved ones, and the impact it has on our collective future,” SFI said.

Last December, SFI announced a total of 47 projects that had received support under the 2019 Discover Programme, with funding worth a total of €5m.

Among the projects funded under the last call was the Cork Electronics Industry Association’s ‘Education to Industry’ programme to deliver maths tutorials to fifth- and sixth-year students, as well as an Irish Sign Language STEM glossary project at DCU.

Since its launch in 2013, more than 440 public engagement projects have been funded under the Discover Programme, with SFI estimating that its most recent recipients will help bring STEM projects to more than 580,000 people.

Siliconrepublic.com has asked whether aspects of the programme will be altered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and will update accordingly.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic