In a press release yesterday, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris announced that €5.2 million in funding is to go towards supporting 49 various Irish projects as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme.

The funding is earmarked to support several projects across the country that cover topics such as biodiversity, epilepsy, climate action, coding, and digital wellbeing. Specific projects include Girls Coding – a project intended to address gender imbalance through the provision of encouragement and opportunity for teenage girls to engage with Computer Science and a project to support deaf and hard of hearing people looking to learn STEM subjects.

DCU’s ‘AI in My Life’ is another project also set to receive funding. ‘AI for life’ is a workshop series aimed at Dublin teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds to evaluate the ethical implications and privacy concerns of AI in their lives as well as encourage them to activate a STEM career and university awareness.

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TD Simon Harris stated within the announcement that ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has brought home to us just how important the STEM fields are. It’s vital that younger people in particular feel encouraged to participate in STEM Careers, and that there are no barriers to entry.’ 

These funded initiatives are to target a wide spectrum of age groups; from adults and teenagers to young children, as well as projects for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living with sight loss, and students attending DEIS schools.  

Lucy Mackarel – Reporter