41 new STEM outreach projects to get €3.6m in SFI funding

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SFI has revealed that 41 new projects will be funded to support STEM outreach, in addition to 11 previous ones getting renewed financial backing.

As part of its Discover programme, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has revealed a number of new initiatives to inspire and guide the best in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and public engagement.

This will see a total of €3.6m given to 41 projects over the course of the year, while a further 11 projects that were awarded in 2018 will have their funding continued for a second year. Through the programme, SFI aims to develop a highly engaged and scientifically informed public to get more young people of diverse backgrounds into STEM careers.

Some of this year’s projects include SOPHia, a science outreach initiative to promote physics studies to women, organised by the University of Limerick; and NUI Galway’s Strength in Science, the development of cross-curricular resources for science and PE teachers, linked with the biology, physics and PE curricula.

Speaking at the SFI Discover Awards event, the Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, said: “SFI’s work in promoting STEM to the public stimulates very important public conversations around scientific research and encourages young people to consider pursuing a career path in these areas.”

He continued: “To address the many global challenges we face across society and the economy, we must ensure that future generations of problem-solvers have the opportunity to be inspired.

“Ireland continues to act as a hub for excellent research, and the initiatives being funded through this year’s SFI Discover programme will help to generate enthusiasm for STEM and highlight the individual, societal and economic value of encouraging more people in Ireland to get involved.”

The news comes less than a week after SFI announced that as part of its Technology Innovation Development Award programme, 38 research positions will be supported by a total of €4.5m in funding.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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