Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dublin to hold annual science festival from 2013 as part of City of Science legacy – Minister Bruton, Minister Sherlock

Over 600,000 people took part in science events across the country during Dublin City of Science 2012

A three-day science “Festival of Curiosity”will be held in Dublin in July 2013, aimed at rivalling international science festivals such as Cheltenham and New York, as part of the legacy of the enormously successful Dublin City of Science 2012, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, announced today.

The festival will build on the success of City of Science 2012 in promoting Ireland’s scientific achievements and encouraging people of all ages to follow their scientific curiosity, through a combination of cultural events, a ‘Curiosity Carnival’, public conferences and lectures from high-profile international speakers. The Festival of Curiosity will also host innovative workshops through an artist in residency programme where science teachers, scientists and members of the public will join forces to create a curious Dublin by collaborating on new ways of engaging people with science.

The festival will be supported by Dublin City Council, Matheson, the RDS and Science Foundation Ireland.
The announcement comes as the Ministers marked the end of the hugely successful Dublin City of Science 2012 which saw over 600,000 people take part in a celebration of science with over 160 events and activities that crossed the worlds of art and culture to entertain the public and bring science to life. The highlight of the year was the international Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) event in July where 4,500 delegates and 400 international journalists from over 70 countries descended on the Convention Centre Dublin over five days to hear 600 speakers, 27 keynote speakers and five Nobel Laureates.

Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said:
“As a country we have a long history of scientific achievement over a number of centuries, and in the past decade we have built on that heritage with dramatic improvements in publicly-funded research. We sometimes forget about these major scientific achievements by Irish people over the years, but Dublin City of Science was remarkably successful in promoting this heritage and capturing the public imagination. This summer we showed the global scientific and business community that we truly are a centre of scientific excellence and I am determined to ensure that we build on this legacy.

“The numbers speak for themselves, and I, along with Minister Sherlock, would like to commend Forfás, the former Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Patrick Cunningham and the entire team for their hard work and success. Thanks are also due to our partners and supporters, particularly the EU Commission and Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

“It is of course crucial that we build on this success and continue to find ways of promoting our scientific heritage and engaging people in science. That is why we are announcing today the establishment of an annual festival of science in Dublin, starting with a three-day event in July 2013, with ambitions to rival the best science festivals in the world. My Department and its agencies will continue to provide strong support for this hugely important initiative as we seek to engage people with science, build our scientific capability and reputation, and ultimately help support the jobs we need”.

Minister Sherlock said:
“ESOF exceeded all expectations in stimulating and provoking public interest, excitement and debate in science and all related disciplines. All of this was greatly complemented by the Dublin City of Science 2012 initiative, which had a remarkable impact in terms of raising science awareness through the many events held all over the country. I am glad that we have partners on board now to build on the legacy of ESOF and Dublin City of Science by embarking on the ‘Festival of Curiosity’due to be held in Dublin in July 2013 – this will help the overall effort to keep science firmly in the public consciousness”, said Minister Sherlock.

Ministers Bruton and Sherlock were joined in closing the year-long science event by Prof. Luke O’Neill, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin and Chairman of the ESOF2012 Programme Committee, Arlene O’Neill, ESOF 2012 ambassador and PhD researcher at CRANN and Martin Shanahan, Chief Executive of Forfás, who supported the organisation of ESOF and Dublin City of Science 2012.

Martin D. Shanahan commented “2012 has been a significant year for Ireland and science. Dublin City of Science and ESOF 2012 firmly put the spotlight of the international science community on us and we rose to the challenge. Forfás is delighted to have played a central role in the organisation and planning of what has been a hugely successful initiative for the country. We are in an excellent position to build on this success to ensure that science, technology and innovation policy further delivers growth and jobs for Ireland.”
Key events during the year included:

· The St Patrick’s Day Festival Parade in March where participants brought the science theme to life based on questions posed by children.

· The Dublin Mini Maker Faire brought together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, scientists, students and authors of all ages and backgrounds to showcase their work.

· The three month Awakening Curiosity programme at The Ark in Dublin stimulated the curiosity of children in scientific discovery, art and biodiversity and the venue reached record audience figures during the summer.

· Zoo in My Garden was a hugely popular theatre performance that brought some of the animals in the Natural History Museum back to life. The show was a collaboration between Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, the National Museum of Ireland Natural History’s Education Department and Theatre Director Denis Conway of Ouroboros Theatre.

· The week-long science and arts festival CuriousCity took place in Cork in June and Accelerating Science, CERN’s flagship travelling exhibition visited Galway in September.

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