€3.7 million announced in funding for projects increasing public understanding of STEM

The funding will be invested in 47 projects in higher education institutions, private companies and local government

€3.7 million is to be invested in 47 projects aimed at improving public understanding of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), government announced yesterday.

The funding, received through the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme, will be focused on encouraging diversity and inclusion in STEM, while also targeting a wide range of ages including young children, teens and adults.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said: “These projects will have an invaluable impact, starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and inspiring our young people to explore careers in these areas.”

He continued: “Through initiatives such as the SFI Discover Programme, we must support the public to have access to, and understand, the issues that impact our collective future, and the role science and technology can play in providing solutions. I wish all the recipients every success in the rollout of their projects.”

The SFI Discover Programme is part of SFI’s four-year strategy that aims to “unlock the potential of Irish research to meet current challenges, seize future opportunities and support the priorities outlined in Ireland’s recent Programme for Government: Our Shared Future.”

Speaking on the 47 funded projects, Minister for Education Norma Foley said: “These projects are designed to grow and encourage participation in STEM education and public engagement, inspiring our young people to explore STEM roles in the future.”

Trinity College Dublin will receive €415,799 of this funding to organise five projects. These include: Current Chemistry Investigators (CCI), which will provide students, teachers and the public with new activities based on the area of electrochemistry; iAdapt, a project which aims to encourage engagement with adaptation planning; and Pytch: A Bridge from Block to Text programming.

Trinity’s other projects are entitled Technology in my Life, and Visioneers – A Smart Cities Education Programme.

Projects funded by the new initiative in other universities include AI in my Life, organised through the DCU Access Service, which will be offered to transition year students across twenty disadvantaged schools to encourage them to evaluate the social, ethical and privacy implications of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as consider future possible career options in AI.

Ellen Kenny

Ellen Kenny is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News and a Senior Sophister student of Politics and Sociology. She previously served as Assistant Editor and Features Editor