To mark Science Week, which is running from 11-18th November, 2018 the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), is hosting and participating in a number of important events to celebrate the excellent impacts and achievements of Ireland’s research community. More than 1,200 events are taking place across the country over this week. Last year Science Week reached over 315,000 people and featured 1,150 events nationwide.
Speaking about Science Week 2018, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “Science Week represents an opportunity for the people of Ireland and the scientific community to connect. We have seen tremendous advancements in Ireland in recent years, with strides made in the technological and scientific spheres. In Ireland, we have some of the world’s top researchers and Science Week will allow the public the chance to discover the answers to the world around them. With hundreds of events taking place across Ireland, I would encourage people of all ages to get involved and find their local event”
On Tuesday 13th November 2018, Mr. John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development hosted a working lunch at the Houses of the Oireachtas for Deputies and Senators with a specific background or interest in Science. One of the main topics for discussion was to highlight the science agenda, its significance to the success of the economy and also to recognise the societal benefits that Science & Technology brings to the people of Ireland.
On Wednesday, 14th November 2018, Minister Halligan welcomed people and community groups from around Ireland to Leinster House to make the case to TDs, Ministers and Officials that evidence must be central to formulating public policy.
Entitled ‘Evidence Matters’ sixteen people each gave a 1-minute speech about why evidence matters to them, including a parent, a farmer, a craft brewer, a beekeeper, a chef, and an inter-county hurler, as well as community group representatives urging government to use evidence in policymaking on housing, loneliness, the environment, cycling and the Irish language.
Speaking at the event Mr. John Halligan T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Developmentsaid “As public representatives in Dáil Éireann and the Houses of the Oireachtas there is an onus on politicians and policy makers to ensure that government policy, which can have far reaching implications for the people of Ireland, is made through informed, data-driven analysis and debate. I am delighted to invite Sense about Science and Science Foundation Ireland to bring real life stories to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to shine a light on the importance of evidence-based policy making during Science Week 2018.”
In addition, on Monday 12th November 2018, Secretary General of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Dr Orlaigh Quinn, was a keynote speaker at the SFI Science Summit which was attended by over 350 leading members of the Irish research community. The theme of this year’s Summit was – ‘Disruptive Innovation Transforming Society’. Dr Quinn, in association with the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Professor Mark Ferguson, also presided over the prestigious 2018 Science Foundation Ireland Awards which celebrated researchers’ contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.