Category Archives: Evaluation

Demand vs. Capacity for I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer Ireland

In the I’m a Scientist Ireland project pilot in 2012 we ran three zones, since then we have run four zones every year. While we were under capacity in the pilot, the demand for the activity from teachers has remained relatively consistent and looks to be increasing.

I’m a Scientist IE class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2012 – November 2015

I’m a Scientist IE class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2012 – November 2015

Assuming the trend carries on, we would easily be able to run a fifth or even sixth zone in November this year.

The story in I’m an Engineer is a little different.

I’m an Engineer IE class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2014 – February 2016

I’m an Engineer IE class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2014 – February 2016

For the past couple of years we have run two I’m an Engineer events each year; one with the I’m a Scientist event in November, and one in February to coincide with Engineers Week Ireland.

In the first year, we saw teachers favouring the November event albeit only slightly, in 2015/16 though we saw a huge shift towards February, with demand being almost twice what was expected.

The increased demand is too big to come only from existing teachers opting to take part during Engineers Week instead of earlier in the year. More investigation is needed to say how much, but a lot of the demand must have come from new teachers signing up.

In November 2016 there will be no I’m an Engineer event. Our plan is to move the Engineer activity to February alone, keeping the Scientist activity in November.

What is clear — clearer still where we combine the data sets— is that the school demand for our online STEM engagement activities is growing. We need to find ways to increase capacity and offer more students in Ireland the opportunity to take part.

I’m a Scientist and I'm an Engineer IE combined class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2012 – February 2016

I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer IE combined class requests and capacity by academic year — November 2012 – February 2016


Update: 3 June 2016

Requests by country

Graphs of class requests by country for I'm a Scientist and I'm an Engineer Ireland

Class requests by country for I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer Ireland — Click for larger view

We had a quick look at how many of the class requests discussed above came from schools in different countries.

As the graphs show, the majority of requests are coming from schools in the Republic of Ireland, with far fewer coming from Northern Ireland, and the occasional request from a couple of international schools.

Schools in Northern Ireland have always been invited to take part in the Irish events as well as the UK events.

Moving forward, Northern Irish schools will be invited to take part in the UK events only. The occasional international school taking part will now be asked to pay a small charge to do so, this cost to the school will go towards running additional zones in the future.

Posted on June 2, 2016 ModJosh in Evaluation, News | Leave a comment

I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer – 2015 Report

SFI cover

Click here to download the full report.

In 2015, we ran six zones: Three I’m a Scientist themed zones (Nanoscience, Drug Synthesis and Food Science), one I’m a Scientist general zone (Nitrogen Zone) with a mix of scientists from different areas, one I’m an Engineer themed zone around computing (Boole Zone) and one general engineering zone (Metre Zone).

Our key findings in 2015:

  • We have improved I’m an Engineer audience numbers since last year. In 2014 we ran I’m an Engineer for the first time in Ireland and we got an average of 208 students logged in per zone. In 2015, we have even exceeded our target of 330 students per zone, with 377 students in the Boole Zone, and 350 in the Metre Zone.
  • We have improved the diversity of the scientists and engineers taking part. 10% of the participants were from a black or minority ethnic background, and we got a perfect gender balance in both I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer.
  • 90% of students think they know more about the skills required to be an engineer, the type of people who work as engineers, and engineers’ role in society after taking part in I’m an Engineer.

Download the full report here (PDF).

Posted on January 26, 2016 modangela in Evaluation | Leave a comment

November 2014 Event Evaluation Report

Click to download the full report

Click to download the full report

In November 2014 we ran I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the third time, and we run our first I’m an Engineer event in Ireland. We ran four I’m a Scientist and two I’m an Engineer zones. Two of the I’m a Scientist zones were themed (Evolution and Sustainability) and two of them were general (Boron and Beryllium). One of the I’m an Engineer zones was themed (Energy) and the other one was general (Kelvin).

This report looks at how the event went. Our key findings were:

  • Students are inspired to learn more about science and get interested in science related jobs
  • Students understand what engineers do and what engineering is all about
  • Scientists and engineers consider they have improved their communication skills
  • Scientists and engineers get enthused about public engagement and want to do more of it after taking part

Download the report here.

Posted on December 10, 2014 modangela in Evaluation, News | Leave a comment

Crowdfunding confusion

fundit-logo-headerThe funding for this project comes in part from the Science Foundation Ireland and the other half comes from elsewhere. We’ve got funding from the Wellcome Trust, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology and the Royal Society for Chemistry. Traditionally we try to get a zone funded by large company employing lots of scientists and engineers. A company whose business relies on a science friendly population and education system. Traditionally we get nowhere.

This year we thought we’d try something different. We thought we’d ask lots of small companies who rely on scientists and engineers to fund us a little. We thought we’d try crowdfunding.

It didn’t work.

We created two FundIt.ie campaigns and promoted them both through our networks and through other networks. The response was almost non-existent. Why?

We could have promoted it harder. But it was clear from our initial publicity that promotion wasn’t leading to pledges. From our first burst of activity we had such a little response that it was clear that even an enormous amount of promotion would still have left us short.

Companies need time to plan. Yes, they do, but it was my expectation that the amount of money we were asking for would be discretionery spend. And the one pledge of €250 showed that to be a possibility.

Companies don’t understand science engagement. Sure, there are some companies who understand what you mean by science outreach and engagement. But perhaps not that many and perhaps not so much those who also have the flexibility to pledge €250. I found myself having to explain the event and what it was trying to do. I’m not convinced it was fully appreciated.

People don’t get crowdfunding. Sure you do. You’re reading a blog that you probably found via a link on twitter. You get crowdfunding because you’re part of the online crowd. but the people running small businesses don’t get it in the same way. It’s not the norm. A central concept of crowdfunding is that unless the campaign is successful it doesn’t cost you, the pledger, a cent. It’s brilliant. It means you only buy into SUCCESS. But that isn’t blindingly obvious. I think it is still some time before it becomes mainstream.

Will we try next year? I think so. We’ll start earlier. We’ll prime the audience a little more. And if we fail again, we’ll make sure we learn again.

Posted on October 24, 2014 iasieadmin in Evaluation, News | Leave a comment

November 2013 Event Evaluation Report

IASIE report imageIn November 2013 we run I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the second time. We run 4 zones: two themed on Nanotechnology and Space and two general zones named Helium and Lithium with a mix of 5 scientists.

This report looks at how the event went. One of the main points of the report is our analysis of the impact that the event had on students’ perception of science. We found out that students’ interest in science and science related careers is clearly increased after taking part in I’m a Scientist. We also report on teacher and scientist feedback, which was generally very positive. As one teacher said: “This event offers the opportunity to do something different; an activity that brings out new strengths and abilities”. Sandra Byrne. Teacher

Download the report here.

Posted on December 19, 2013 modemily in Evaluation | Comments Off on November 2013 Event Evaluation Report

Evaluating I’m a Scientist – Ireland

IAS Ireland Logo May 2012Back in November 2012 we ran I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the first time. In short, it was a real success.

The enthusiasm shown by teachers, students and scientists was magnificent and the students really got into the spirit of the event.

The full evaluation report is up on the Irish site (imascientist.ie/2013/05/15/evaluating-im-a-scientist-in-ireland/) alongside a short summary of our findings.

In summary, we would love to run more events in Ireland.

Posted on May 15, 2013 modemily in Evaluation | Comments Off on Evaluating I’m a Scientist – Ireland