SFI funds 40 projects to make STEM more inclusive

6 Mar 2023

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The funded projects include an initiative to help children from diverse backgrounds become sustainability ambassadors and promoting STEM education for deaf people.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced €6m in funding to help boost public engagement and inclusion in STEM.

The funding will go to 40 awardees, who will be encouraged to build connections with less-represented voices and with those who would not typically engage with STEM.

The 40 projects target a range of geographic locations and incorporate themes such as climate change and biodiversity.

The projects were successful applicants to the SFI Discover Programme, which aims to grow the communities that contribute to STEM in Ireland.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said the programme aims to “stimulate an open and inclusive conversation” to ensure everyone can “bring forward ideas and solutions for our society”.

“The significant funding announced today will encourage the 40 awardees to bring the incredible world of STEM to those who may not otherwise have considered the endless opportunities available that are out there,” Harris said.

“I look forward to seeing the results and achievements of these projects, and I have no doubt they will help inspire many people to pursue careers and studies in STEM.”

The awarded projects come from various Irish institutions including Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Galway, University College Cork and Maynooth University.

One example of the projects is Generation Glas, an initiative that engages with young people from diverse backgrounds across Ireland and supports them to become ambassadors for sustainability. Another project aims to promote STEM education for deaf and hard of hearing people, to help them be fully engaged and scientifically informed.

“STEM subjects ignite curiosity and it is wonderful to see so many of our young learners and students engaging with STEM and I hope that this will instil an interest in further study in this area,” said Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD. “I wish all the participants every success in their work as they commence their projects.”

Last year, the SFI Discover Programme invested €3.7m in 47 projects across Ireland, focused on areas such as AI, infectious diseases, chemistry, data science, sexual health and climate science.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic