When and where is it on?

The Galway Science & Technology Festival is about to celebrate the 20th year of the Festival with the biggest ever Science and Technology festival and exhibition, which is set to inspire and intrigue! Opening for two weeks of stimulating STEM events on Monday 13th November in Galway city and county, it will build up to a huge family day of shows, demonstrations, workshops and interactive exhibition stands spread throughout the NUI Galway campus on Sunday 26th November.

The Galway Science and Technology Festival, which is part of SFI’s National Science Week, takes place in NUI Galway, GMIT and primary and secondary school campuses throughout the city and county. Festival events can also be found in Galway Libraries, the Atlantaquaria and Brigit’s Gardens Oughterard. It is now the largest science event in the country, with over 150 events facilitating 35,000 primary and secondary school students provided free to the schools thanks to the support of the main sponsor Medtronic, along with other major multi-national companies, government agencies and third level colleges in Galway.

The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public. Free bookings for individual workshops and shows will open online on Saturday 18th November at 11am on www.galwayscience.eventbrite.ie

How many years has it been going?  What was the inspiration to start it?

The Galway Science & Technology Festival was founded in 1998 with the aim to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and to enable local global and indigenous companies to interact and engage with students and offer real advice on careers in the STEM fields.  The aim of the Festival is to give children and teenagers positive and entertaining experiences of how science and technology affect their everyday life but also what a career in these fields looks like.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 version?

There are many exciting and engaging shows, workshops and demonstrations taking place.  New to the 2017 Festival and visiting Ireland for the first time is the Richard III discover Exhibition from Leicester University in the UK – The ‘Richard III Discovered’ Exhibition arrives from University of Leicester and will be hosted by NUI Galway as part of the 20th Galway Science and Technology Festival in partnership with the British Council Ireland. The discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton has been the scientific detective story of the decade. Special guest of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Dr. Turi King, Professor at University of Leicester, a passionate communicator of science will recount the story of a most ambitious Grey Friars project which led to the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in 2012.  The Galway Science and Technology Festival is part of the SFI National Science Week.

The exhibit led by Dr. Turi King shows how science and technology was used to discover a body that had been lost for 500 years during an archaeological dig under a council car park in Leicester which led to the identification through DNA of King Richard III’s skeleton. This event presents a fantastic opportunity to learn how the combination of genetics, genealogy, archaeology, history, forensics and some real-life CSI (crime scene investigation) was used in solving an historical detective story of a missing body.

 There are over 30 shows and workshops visiting schools throughout the two weeks including an array of workshops from NUI Galway and GMIT.  The big shows are back with Sue McGrath and her magic bubbles and James Soper is bringing his new psychology show ‘Your Beautiful Biased Brain’ and new to the 2017 Festival is Sirius Science from Northern Ireland will also be joining the fantastic line-up of events for the first time bringing students on a celestial journey by visiting the International Space Station to observe how astronauts live, and work, on-board this incredible man-made facility which is whizzing around Planet Earth and then transported back in time to see the beginning of the Solar System.

Romero Games owned by John and Brendan Romero will give their inspiring ‘Life as a Gamer’ talk and GMIT as part of their Open Day will also host a career talk with engineers and scientists from local Med Tech and Technology companies attending.  Also as part of the GMIT program – students are invited to visit the GAA Centre of Excellence in Loughgeorge where they will be shown all the latest technology used in sport along with some interesting and inspiring talks.

NUI Galway have a number of workshops that will be visiting schools but also offering students an opportunity to visit the campus and take part in workshops in the NUIG laboratories.  Workshops include Cell Explorers, chemistry experiments and an opportunity for students to try their skills as a surgeon!

As part of National Science Week there will be a Premiere Screening of ‘Bittersweet – the Rise of Diabetes’ on Saturday 25th November in An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Middle Street, Galway City.  This documentary is the 2017 Science on Screen Commission by CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway and Galway City of Film with Galway Film Centre.

The annual Exhibition at NUI Galway has grown over the years to become the largest STEM event for families in Ireland with over 20,000 people expected to attend on the day.  There will be so many exciting, inspiring and educational workshops, shows and demonstrations to choose from.  The Bailey Allen is the centre of activity for the Exhibition with exhibits by Medtronic, a key partner of the festival, who will have an interactive specially designed stand to wow kids with an immersive ‘Kids Hospital’, NUI Galway, GMIT, Cisco, Boston Scientific, Fidelity, Creganna/TE Connectivity, Valeo, SAP, Aerogen and the Marine Institute will all host interactive, educational and interesting stands.  Alongside the company exhibits will be demonstrations and experiments by local primary and secondary schools.  EA Games are joining the Exhibition for the first time and will run a number of exciting gaming events in the Bank of Ireland Threatre.  In addition to EA, the Gaming Zone will return this year with Romero Games and a number of local gaming companies demoing their latest games and apps.

Also new this year will be an exciting array of exhibits by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will take place in the Orbsen Building – featuring a drone, the radon house, live bugs that can indicate water quality and some lab and noise monitoring equipment.

Don’t miss the Digital Makers Space which will bring together Galway’s local digital creatives – this will include coderdojo communities; 091 Labs- embracing hackerspace; Galway Gaming Tribes and CompSoc from NUI Galway.

The Institute of Physics will bring their amazing Science Buskers explaining a variety of physics concepts and the very popular My Amazing Brain will also be featuring in the new Human Biology building.  There will be lego and bugs, bubbles and balloon races, gravity and electricity, DNA extraction and Artsy Scientists all on one campus for one day only.

Check out http://www.galwayscience.ie/whats-on/2017-galway-science-technology-festival-events/ for the full programme

Who will be speaking?

One of this year’s Festival highlights is the arrival of the Richard III Discovered Exhibition from University of Leicester supported by the British Council Ireland, which will be hosted at NUI Galway as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival. Prof. Turi King will give a lecture on how science and technology was used to uncover the mystery of the King that was unearthed in a dig beneath a car park in Leicester in 2012!

There will be over 30 different interactive workshops taking place several times throughout the day all available to book free of charge.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

Plan your day by taking the opportunity to pre-book the shows and workshops online a week in advance – the programme is available here http://www.galwayscience.ie/whats-on/2017-galway-science-technology-festival-events/  Bookings which are all free of charge are open on Saturday 18th November at 11am.

If you miss the booking deadline there will be still seats available if you arrive early.

When booking shows and workshops allow yourself enough time to get from A to B – some events take place in different buildings. Make sure to give yourselves enough time to visit the main exhibition hall where lots of the local companies who are partnering with the festival set up large interactive stands which are both educational and entertaining.

The Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition day is very very popular. There will be Park n Ride available in Corrib Village with shuttle buses running throughout the day and all the campus coffee shops and restaurants will be open on the day.

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

Tickets for shows and workshops on the day of the Exhibition will be released on Saturday 18th November at 11am on www.galwayscience.eventbrite.ie.  30% of seats are retained for people to queue for on the day, there is always plenty of room throughout the day but especially for the morning events, so come early and ensure to plan your day.  All events are free to attend.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

The festival exhibition is a fantastic platform for local companies and educational bodies to engage with the public and raise their profile.  The Festival showcases all that is good about Galway in terms of education from primary school to post graduate students, multi-national and indigenous companies and some fun and exciting science shows to entertain and engage the audience in terms of Science & Technology.

‘Galway has seen many positive developments over the twenty years during which it has developed a global reputation as a major global med-tech hub and we are delighted that local companies like Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Creganna/TE Connectivity and Aerogen and we are delighted that local companies play a major role in supporting our festival. We also have an expanding Technology hub with key world players including CISCO, Fidelity, EA Games, SAP and Valeo who also support the festival. I’m sure that the development of the festival has played a positive role in nurturing and guiding students into careers in these sectors,’ commented Paul Mee, Chairperson, Galway Science and Technology Festival.

Ronan Rogers, New Product Development Director, Medtronic Parkmore, ‘Medtronic is delighted to partner with the Galway Science & Technology Festival as the main sponsor for the 16th year running. Our partnership with the Festival is one of collaboration where our energies focus on engaging the young scientists and engineers of the future and providing them with an insight into working with a leading medical device company. We are delighted to celebrate the Festival’s 20th anniversary in Galway where it has grown in magnitude since its inception in 1998.’

Check out www.galwayscience.ie for the extensive programme.

Please follow us on Twitter @galwaysciencefe and on www.facebook.com/galwayscience

and use the hashtag #scienceweek #gstf2017and #GalwayScience to join the conversation. See www.galwayscience.ie



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