Frequently Asked Questions

What is Midlands Science – What do we do?

Midlands Science is a local development company working to progress economic development and education attainment in the midlands of Ireland. It is funded by a mixture of public and private funding. Since 2008, we have focused on a work programme dealing with STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) as this is a key issue for the region’s development. We deliver STEM outreach projects on time, on budget and with significant impact in terms of target audience engagement, media engagement and long term development outcomes. Key projects include our annual Midlands Science Festival, Midlands Science Diaspora, JUMP Maths and a number of events and activities around the development of science skills for schools.

The Midlands Science Board and Executive have built a strong track record of success, utilising available resources with high impact and return. Our objective is to grow the exposure and teaching of STEM subjects in schools through relationships with Department of Science & Engineering, Science Foundation Ireland and companies with a science related focus, bringing international best practice and creating relevant and fruitful opportunities.

Midlands Science values education, continuous learning and up-skilling as key building blocks for sustainable regional development. We believe that education is the best assurance we have of brighter national stability and investing in young minds now is investment in the future. In collaboration with partners from the private, public and community sectors, we are committed to facilitating and delivering a number of targeted education initiatives in the Midlands annually.

What is the Midlands Science Festival?

The Midlands Science Festival is a seven-day programme of around 90 events running throughout the Midlands with the aim of celebrating science, maths, engineering, technology and it’s importance in our lives. This exciting and innovative week provides an opportunity for people to participate in events and activities that showcase science in a variety of ways and the carefully planned programme is hugely varied with something for people of all ages and abilities.

The festival is part of national ‘Science Week’, which is Ireland’s biggest annual promotion of science to the general public. The week-long schedule of events across Ireland each November aims to make science more interesting & accessible to children & adults alike. The 1st national Science Week took place in 1996, and since then it has grown to around 800 events a year. Events take place in schools, colleges, universities, libraries, companies and other public places and are run mainly by volunteers. The national media and promotional campaign is coordinated by SFI’s Discover Programme. Festivals take place around the country in Sligo, Galway, Mayo, Limerick, Cork, Waterford and now, the Midlands. There will be opportunities to meet real scientists & learn how recent discoveries and research affect our daily lives. Most of the events are offered at no charge to participants.

How can an organisation partner with Midlands Science?

There are a number of ways in which you can support the annual science festival and some of the other STEM education projects that we run throughout the year. Our work would not be possible without the support of our partners, funders and sponsors who help us achieve our objective to promote the important message that science is all around us.

Our annual Midlands Science Festival is an example of one event produced in collaboration with a number of academic and corporate partners to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to explore science.

Please contact our Business Development Exectutive, Pauline Nally on pnally@atlanticcorridor.ie should you wish to discuss potential partnership opportunities.

What are the dates?

Science Week runs from November 13th – 20th 2017.

Where are all of the events held?

The Science Festival is on all across the Midlands counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath. Check to see which venue the event you are attending is on by visiting this site in the coming months. For example, a lot of the talks for adults are held in more informal settings such as libraries or theatres to create a more intimate, café-style environment but we also hold events in more traditional venues such as classrooms, labs or lecture halls. Last year we  hosted some events in sports halls, coffee clubs, hotels and libraries.

What ages is this week geared towards? Is it more primary than secondary school focused?

With over 90 fun, interactive activities, there will be more than enough variety of topics & events to cater for all ages from very young national school children to teenagers right up to adults who are either science professionals or experts themselves or people who are merely curious about the exciting world of science. We have already contacted all schools in the Midland region in order to gauge interest in hosting and participating in local events. Examples from last year include exciting science science magic shows and reptile visits to primary school children and informative technology career talks for secondary school students.

Who organises the Midlands Science Festival?

Midlands Science (formerly Atlantic Corridor) is a local development company based in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. We are responsible, in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland and a number of other local, regional & corporate partners,  for managing the planning and execution of the festival for Science Week 2017 in the Midlands. All of the partners involved share an enthusiastic approach to science, maths, engineering and technology and a shared goal of inspiring the next generation of innovators and researchers. The continuing success of the Midlands Science Festival depends on the great efforts of the organisers and the enthusiasm of participants & spectators alike.

Established in the year 2000, Midlands Science works to promote activities that will improve the social and economic well-being of Midlands’ people, accelerate the growth and sustainability of local businesses and optimise regional participation in the highest quality education. Midlands Science values international connections in order to work towards a key goal where the Midlands becomes a more attractive base for technologically focused projects and increasing STEM literacy amongst the local population. Some of the most recently developed Midlands Science projects include the delivery of the new initiative ‘Science with Inspirational Mentors’ or SWIM in local schools and a number of other economic development projects.

How many people participate in the festival?

We are hoping that this year will be even better & bigger but the extremely large public turnout totalling over 9000 people in attendance at the festival last year (2016) shows the appetite for this type of educational event in the Midlands region & one of the most encouraging factors is the diversity of the audiences that we attracted during the week.

Are the festival events free of charge?

It is our goal to keep the Midlands Science Festival free where possible. However some of the venues & facilities require a nominal admission fee. Keeping an event this large free to the public is a significant undertaking & with this in mind, we are incredibly thankful for the support of generous sponsors & corporate partners.

Why should I take part in or attend an event during the festival?

People tend to have their own unique reasons and benefits for taking part; sometimes it is to simply encourage STEM education to all ages. For others, it is about doing something different and something fun regardless of age profiles. There is such a wide variety of different events going on throughout the week; there really is something for everyone! There are live shows and performances by science experts, communicators and researchers, some more serious than others and some with a humorous twist! There are exhibits, interactive displays, networking opportunities, demonstrations and investigations, career talks & controversial debates, seminars & workshops!

How can I find out what’s happening in my area?

You can find out what public events are happening in your area by checking our events page and in the run-up to the festival we will be doing plenty of advertising in the local press.

Can I contact a member of the Midlands Science team with any queries?

You can contact a member of the team by emailing us at the following addresses:
Jackie Gormanjgorman@atlanticcorridor.ie
Gillian Maunsellgmaunsell@atlanticcorridor.ie
Postal address: Midlands Science, Block 6, Central Business Park, Clonminch, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. R35 F8K0
Phone number: 057 93 239 02