Galway Science and Technology Festival broke all previous attendance records on Sunday for the much-anticipated return of the Festival Exhibition, hosted by the University of Galway and spread right throughout the campus.
Over 22,000 people attended this one day science extravaganza to open National Science Week. Greeted at the door by a LEGO Buzz Lightyear, children and families were entertained by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ) demonstrations, maths buskers, interactive workshops and innovative displays all day long.
With the support of sponsors and partners, including main sponsor Medtronic, this popular family event brings a collaboration of local industry, educators, support agencies and Science Foundation Ireland together with the common aim to provide the next generation with inspiration to take further studies in STEM.
Celebrating 25 years of STEM Education, the Exhibition was the opening event for the two week annual Galway Science and Technology Festival, which is the largest event of its kind in Europe.
It showcases Galway as the MedTech capital of Europe and a growing IT Hub, bringing science and technology to over 35,000 students in schools across Galway city and county. This year there will be over 200 STEM demonstrations, shows and workshops in 140 primary schools and 40 post-primary schools.
The Sunday Exhibition was a hive of activity with 25 shows and hands-on workshops and over 80 demonstrations and interactive exhibitions created by sponsor companies and agencies, universities and schools. Families enjoyed 3D astronomy shows and learned how to extract DNA from a banana, saw parasites in VR, drove Valeos self-driving car using a mobile phone, visited the Teddy Bear hospital and the ever popular Doctor Bug introduced tarantulas, snakes and lizards to very excited children and much, much more.
Medtronic’s Junior Hospital team engaged with families at their fantastic interactive series of stands in the Human Biology Building. Sue McGrath entertained with the Devastatingly Dramatic Climate Show and new to the Festival is Braintastic with their Non-Sense show exploring our senses.
Year on year families take the opportunity to attend the exhibition day, a free event that is made possible by the generous support of all partners and sponsors including Medtronic, University of Galway, Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Cisco, TE Connectivity, Fidelity, Merit Medical, ATU, Marine Institute, SAP, Trane Technologies/Thermo King, Valeo, Aerogen, IDA Ireland, Galway County Council, Galway City Council.
The fantastic school exhibits are always a highlight of the Exhibition, where schools get to demonstrate their school projects to the public, learning to become science communicators from a young age. The winners of this year’s School Exhibits were Clarinbridge National School and in the secondary school category, St Joseph’s Patrician College (The Bish ) who demonstrated their project that achieved flight status with their Astro-Pi Mission Space Lab Experiment in 2021.
Person of the Year
The 2022 Galway Science & Technology Person of the Year Award was presented to Dr Enda O’Connell, Senior Technical Officer at University of Galway and Founding Director of ReelLIFE Science, a science video competition for schools and youth organisations in Ireland and N. Ireland, celebrating its tenth year, the competition encourages young people to engage with STEM, while developing their creativity and communication skills.
To mark the 25th year of the Festival, a special presentation was made to the Treacy Family in commemoration of the late Noel Treacy, Founding Patron of the Galway Science & Technology Festival. Mr Treacy continued to be a strong advocate for the Festival over the 25 years and his presence was greatly missed this year.
The Festival is a very unique event for both families and the public and strives to make a real difference to young people as they continue their studies often making the STEM subjects an easy choice for their third level studies. The Galway Science & Technology Committee would like to express great gratitude to all the volunteers from companies, colleges, schools and the public who give their time so generously and participate both during the Festival and at the Exhibition.
Anne Murray, Festival Manager said “we were delighted to be back on campus at the University of Galway to celebrate and learn about the world around us. The attendance on the day reflected the value that families and the public place on this unique event and we were so glad to be able to honour the memory of the late Noel Treacy who always said it started with an idea”.
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