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.
The 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. … Continue reading
Enda O’Connell won the Health Zone back in 2012, and won €500 to spend on public engagement with science. Let’s take a look at how he spent his prize money! I took part in the first ever Irish I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here in 2012, and slotted into that year’s Health Zone as I work in the National University of Ireland, Galway in the area of biomedical science, mainly in cancer research and stem cell biology. This was my first ever involvement with science outreach and engagement and I had an amazing experience, which I put down to the infectious enthusiasm shown by the students for science during the online chats. One of the tools I use every day is an automated liquid handling system called Janus (manufactured by Perkin Elmer), which was dubbed a “cancer-fighting robot” by one of the students taking part. They seemed fascinated by Janus … Continue reading
In 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.
Paul won the Space Zone in November 2012, find out how he spent his winnings: I participated in the Space Zone of the 2012 Irish I’m A Scientist contest while finishing off my PhD. I was both surprised and elated to win it! (proof: sciencecalling.com/2012/11/23/primary-school-students-pick-top-scientists) I then defended my thesis, got married, and moved to California…whew. Finally, this summer I was granted a bit of free time to kick off my ‘dream’ project: SolarSurfer.org. My proposal is to build an interactive, story-driven, educational website to help bring astronomy and space concepts into the Irish class room. I managed to put together a consortium of solar scientists, teacher and outreach consultants, and web/game/graphic design developers. Using the Irish school curriculum, with the help of Irish school teachers, we are designing lessons that can be used in the class room to teach concepts such as magnetism, gravity, and the planets. The lessons … Continue reading
Back 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.