Calmast has been awarded €299,990 to continue the success of Maths Week.
Maths Week is co-ordinated by the highly experienced Calmast at WIT, which SFI has funded to coordinate STEM engagement across the South East region. Founded in 2006 at WIT, Maths Week quickly became the leading festival of its kind in the world. Calmast has been awarded €299,990 to continue the success of Maths Week.
Discover Programme announcement
The announcement was made by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, as part of a national investment of €5.2 million through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme.
The funding will support 49 public engagement and education initiatives that aim to improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and engage a wide audience of people with STEM topics.
The Calmast connection
Coordinator of Maths Week, Calmast director Eoin Gill explains, “Maths Week Ireland is an annual festival promoting positive attitudes towards maths and highlighting the importance of maths in our lives. It is a collaborative partnership of organisations including all the universities, institutes of technology, along with professional bodies, visitor centres and more.
“It is co-ordinated by the highly experienced Calmast STEM EPE (education and public engagement) centre, which also has €150,000 funding from SFI to coordinate STEM engagement across the South East region. It engaged directly over 350,000 in 2020, spreading a positive message further through traditional and social media. Events include shows, workshops, projects, competitions, taking place in city streets, prestige venues, partner centres, in-school and online.”
In addition to maths, the projects cover topics including biodiversity, STEM sign language, climate action and sustainability, coding, epilepsy, understanding pandemics, digital wellbeing, and the link between music, and physics.
The initiatives also target a wide range of ages including young children, teens, and adults as well as some initiatives designed for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and attending DEIS schools and those living with sight loss.
Important of science and technology
Speaking about the announcement Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce the 49 projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme. As we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are more conscious than ever of the importance of supporting the public to have access to and to understand the issues that impact our collective future, and the role science and technology can play in providing solutions. These projects will play a role in starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and inspiring our young people to explore careers in these areas. I wish all the recipients every success in the roll out of their projects.”
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society said: “The SFI Discover Programme is a key part of our education and public engagement activity. It aims to support projects at local level, as well as at regional and national levels, to stimulate engagement and understanding with STEM. Recently, we published the SFI Science in Ireland Barometer 2020. This research enables us to have better understanding of the public’s attitude to science and provides evidence to inform and shape how our education and public engagement initiatives meet the needs of the people of Ireland. These projects will play a key role in supporting the public to better understand the evidence behind challenges we have collectively face, and the choices we need to make in the future. We are looking forward to working with these exciting and creative education and engagement programmes, making the excitement and importance of STEM more accessible to a wide diversity of people.”