Science and technology to help country’s economic recovery

The important role being played by science and technology in our economic recovery was highlighted this week at the launch of the Galway Science and Technology Festival.

The event - a two-week series of special shows, exhibitions, workshops and entertainment for schoolgoers from all over the county - aims to increase the uptake of science subjects in schools. It runs from November 9 to 22.

Launching the festival Minister Eamon O’Cuiv and Medtronic vice-president Gerry Kilcommins emphasised that both science and engineering are crucial to the country’s recovery when they formally launched the Festival.

Mr Kilcommins of Medtronic, which employs 2,000 people in Galway in medical device development, said that harnessing the power of science and technology was more important than ever in today’s world.

“Scientific and engineering knowledge will be critical drivers of Ireland’s economic future. Thus, it is essential that we continue to grow and develop Ireland’s technological talent pool.”

He said that co-operation between industry, education and government could position Ireland as a world leading centre of excellence in science and technological innovation.

“The realisation of our vision to become a world renowned innovation centre will depend heavily upon the skills and capabilities of the younger generation.”

The Science and Technology Festival was built around making science fun for young people, and making them problem solvers and innovators, said. Medtronic was a example of innovation and was started 60 years ago in the US in a railroad car where hospital equipment was repaired and now employed 38,000 people worldwide.

Minister Eamon O’Cuiv, who formally launched the event said he was hugely impressed that all the events were aimed at young people and raising awareness of science, engineering and maths as well as increasing the uptake of subjects in those areas. It would produce a new generation of problem solvers and innovators.

He noted one of the highlights of the festival will be the exhibition on November 22. An estimated 20,000 young people are expected to attend the event being held at both Leisureland and the Galway Bay Hotel.

The Minister paid tribute to the work of the festival committee in organising the event over 12 years and said the main “matchmakers” between the festival, industry and education were chairman Tom Hyland and secretary Bernard Kirk. He also paid tribute to Noel Treacy TD, the long-time patron of the festival.

Science journalist and broadcaster Leo Enright said the success and range of the festival, and the major involvement by young people, had set a “headline” over many years, even at national level.

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