NUIG academic initiatives awarded funding to increase engagement with STEM subjects

By Maeve Lee

Five NUIG Galway initiatives have been awarded over €175,000 to fund projects dedicated to educating and engaging the public in STEM subjects.

The funding will come from Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme and was announced by the Secretary-General of the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation as part of a national investment of €5.12 million.

Speaking about the NUIG projects that will be funded, Professor Lokesh Joshi said: “It’s part of our culture at NUI Galway to engage, to connect and to communicate. Our researchers have an excellent track record in public engagement and have devised fun and engaging programmes to highlight the importance of STEM in addressing societal challenges.”

One of the projects included in the funding is CÚRAM ‘Curious Young Minds’ Project, which will help to develop and deliver a series of hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) workshops to families living in Direct Provision in Galway. This project was given €28,135 in funding under the programme.

Bright Club, a variety show with a twist, will see the most funding and was awarded €49,862. The shows have been running for five years and sees comedy and STEM combine as academic researchers transform into comedians for one night, using comedy to discuss their research.

“[The programme] encourages people from all communities, age groups and backgrounds to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This is achieved by supporting a diverse range of engagement activities across Ireland, designed to help people explore STEM in a meaningful and creative way”, said Dr Ruth Freeman who is Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland.

“I am delighted to see such a strong contingent from NUI Galway this year”, she added.

Other initiatives awarded funding include ReelLife Science, a nationwide video competition that challenged school children to research a STEM project and Cell Explorers Escape Rooms, which combines the thrill of escape rooms with modern biology and targets those who would not usually be engaged with science, technology, engineering and maths.

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