Our Second Public Engagement Event

Hot on the heels of the Cork Carnival of Science in June, exactly a month later we are out and about again for the 2022 Dublin Maker in Merrion Square. This time we had a great collaboration of researchers from both of our partner project institutions: Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Sligo.

Our TCD researchers setup the stand and sparked conversations for the morning part of the festival. Our ATU Sligo researchers took a train from Sligo and took over the stand for the middle part of the day to give the TCD group a break and got a train back to Sligo again on the same day. It was a grueling 7 hour round trip for a total of about 4-5 hours in Dublin. The TCD researchers then finished off the day and packed everything up again. It was entirely run by our Coordinator Natalia and demonstrated the unique partnership that this project facilitates between the institutions.

Thank you to all the PhD researchers from TCD and ATU Sligo for making Aluminum-Air batteries with about 320 people over the course of the day. The feedback from everyone was hugely positive and thank you to Dublin Maker for having us!

Photos by Conor Harford

Our First Public Engagement Event

Our first Current Chemistry Investigators (CCI) public engagement event took place at the Cork Carnival of Science 2022 and it was a huge success! The two day outdoor event was attended by about 25,000 people and the CCI team engaged with about 3000 people at our battery making tent!

We had queues of people lining up to make coin-cell batteries to light up an LED. All participants received a take-home pack with everything they needed to make their own LED torch from coins, cloth, saltwater electrolyte and aluminum.

Huge thanks to Science Foundation Ireland (SGI), Cork City Council and the Old Cork Waterworks for a hugely enjoyable weekend and for inviting us to be part of it! Well done to our Schools Coordinator Dr Natalia Garcia Domenech for running our tent and thank you to her enthusiastic team of researchers for their hard work; Áine, Nadia and Karlijn.

SFI Discover Projects Announcement

We were delighted to join the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to help announce the 47 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover projects aimed at improving public understanding of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Our project represents a unique partnership between Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Sligo to engage with communities in the East and North West of Ireland mainly but our project has a national reach with a focus 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 Harris said:

“I am delighted to announce today the 47 projects receiving funding through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme.

“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.

“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.”

Speaking of the projects co-funded by the Department of Education, Minister Foley said:

“We are pleased to collaborate with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science by supporting five projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme.

“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. I want to congratulate all of the individuals and teams involved in their work to date on these projects.”

Huge thank you to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for the opportunity to meet the ministers and take part in this announcement and thank you for the funding to spark conversations with schools and the public about electrochemistry.

Full Press Release: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/59b20-ministers-harris-and-foley-announce-investment-in-47-projects-to-help-public-understanding-of-stem/

Our Pilot Workshops Continue

Thank you to the teachers and 5th year Leaving Cert Chemistry students at Loreto Secondary School in Navan, Co. Meath who gave us really useful feedback about our new CCI workshop. We have now made a few more small tweaks and improvements to the format based on this feedback.

It seems that everyone really enjoyed doing the hands on experimentation and solving the mysterious sabotage of our fictional battery powered car! All photos shown here taken and shared by Loreto Secondary School in Navan. You can follow them on twitter here https://twitter.com/loretonavan

Our First School Workshop

Thank you to the teachers and the Transition Year students of Loreto College, St. Stephens Green for taking part in out first ever CCI school workshop. It was great to see 4 months of workshop development in the hands of our core audience for this project. The feedback was invaluable and we have already made some improvements for our next school visit.

The project is on target to run workshops on a weekly basis for September 2022 onwards. All photos shown here taken and shared by Loreto College, St. Stephens Green. You can follow them on twitter here: https://twitter.com/Loreto_Green

Second Pilot Workshop run in Sligo

After some adjustments based on feedback we got from our Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Chemistry PhD researchers during the first pilot workshop, we brought our new workshop to the North West of Ireland to gather further feedback from PhD’s in the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Sligo.

This time we also tested out some of our evaluation processes as well as a more finalised version of the workshop for secondary schools. It was fantastic for the project team from both institutions to finally meet in-person at ATU Sligo.

Huge thanks to our ATU project partners for a wonderful day as well as the 8 PhD researchers who provided us with so much valuable feedback for the new workshop. Like the TCD PhD researchers, this also served as a training programme for the ATU Sligo PhD’s who are now ready to run these workshops in the North West of Ireland from September 2022 onwards!

Our First Pilot Workshop was a Success!

We ran our first pilot workshop with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) PhD researchers. They provided us with hugely valuable feedback so we could iron out any remaining chemical, narrative and logistic issues. Thank you to everyone who took part!

This workshop also served as a training exercise for our PhD researchers who will be running these workshops with secondary schools from September 2022 onwards. Thanks to everyone who took part in this and for your feedback which has helped us finalise these workshops.

First Teacher CPD Workshop Run in Galway

We were delighted to kick off our project with a hybrid Science Teacher CPD and Focus Group event in partnership with the Galway Branch of the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA). Thank you to the Dominican College Taylors Hill for hosting us and to the Galway ISTA committee for organizing it.

Thank you also for the hugely positive feedback!