Visit to Local Medical Device Company for Science Week

Midlands Science was delighted to team up with local company Europharma Concepts Ltd (EPC) during this year’s Science Week to demonstrate to a number of Midlands students what it is like to work in a medical device company. A group of pupils from Ardscoil Chiarain Naofa visited the plant last week to learn all about the inner workings of a company like this and to explore a range of science related careers.

Declan Lenahan of EuroPharma Concepts said,

‘Europharma Concepts was delighted to join forces with local development company Midlands Science and the Midlands Science festival team for Science Week 2019. It is important for Europharma Concepts as an employer to provide the local student population with encouraging experiences of real-world science and we were delighted to host a number of young people from Ardscoil Chiarain Naofa for a plant tour here in Clara last week. Allowing them to see the internal workings of our company is an ideal way to explain the diverse range of science and technology jobs out there. The aim is to generate an increased interest in science fields and work towards inspiring the next generation of scientists in the Midlands and beyond.’

Founded in 2007 as the only oral healthcare manufacture in Ireland, Europharma Concepts Ltd (EPC) has growing from strength to strength and has become an industry leader in the development and manufacturing of Oral Care, Cosmetics and liquid filled Medical Device products.

The Midlands Science Festival which took place across the region last week celebrates science with original programming that includes lively debates and lectures, film productions, hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations for people of all ages.

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science CEO said,

‘One of the main objectives of this week-long event is to demonstrate the many exciting career opportunities available within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths disciplines. There is a real urgency in society today to ensure that young people are getting the best type of careers advice possible and by taking it beyond just the classroom and into real working environments, we hope we are going in the right direction. We need to increase interest in these fields and work towards inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The festival team places a strong emphasis on mentoring from role models and champions from those in the science education and corporate sectors and it is also wonderful to have opportunities such as site visits to pharmaceutical or medical technology companies during Science Week in order to reach as many students as possible and to encourage them to consider these all-important fields and the related course options.’

Jazz Pharma Career Talks…

We were delighted to welcome Sean and Denis from Athlone based  company, Jazz Pharma to meet a group of senior cycle students in Tullamore today for a talk all around pharma careers. Feedback from students has been excellent and they are looking forward to another STEM careers talk already!

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘ We are extremely committed to remaining focused on growing high level industry-education collaboration across the Midlands region in order to inspire the next generation of scientific and digital leaders. There is a real urgency to ensure that young people are getting the best type of careers advice possible and by taking it beyond the classroom into forums where students have the opportunity to hear from experts working in these fields, we hope that we are going in the right direction. The Midlands Science Festival provides plenty of stimulation for those who are undecided about their future career choices and will hopefully help people to make more informed decisions.’



Teamwork Tuesday!

Barry W. Fitzgerald, BW Science, author of Secret Science of Santa Claus & Secrets of Superhero Science.
photo: Bart van Overbeeke

It really is all go today across the Midlands for Science Week today! We are starting out in Tullamore for a careers talk with Jazz Pharma before heading to the library for our spectacular Foodoppi shows! Then we go across to the students in Tullamore College for some climate change science and we are really excited about that!

There is plenty happening in Laois also with Marty Jopsons ‘Invisible worlds’ show and ‘The Secrets of superhero science’ is also taking place today..Moving down to Longford we have Mary Wards’ World of Wonder;  an inter-active workshop with artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway exploring the life and legacy of Mary Ward, one of Ireland’s first female scientists.  And in Athlone, we ‘Travel to Chernobyl’ for a unique event which will explore the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986.

#stem #believeinscience #science week


We should try to stimulate curiosity …..

As Science Week gets underway, we have been talking to a number of Midlands people who are working in science and technology careers. This week we caught up with Colin Scally, a Tullamore native who attended one of the schools we work closely with here in the Midlands.  He is now living in London..Here is what Colin had to say…

Colin, you are originally from the Midlands and a past pupil of Tullamore College, what are you now working at?

I’ve been based over in London for the past few years and worked across a couple of different jobs and industries. Currently I’m working for a technology consultancy as a software developer and consultant. I’m helping a fintech startup to build out their product – a system to help small businesses with a range of accountancy features and finance options. It’s a great role as we get to really help bring them on a technology journey and realise their ambitions.

Can you tell us what led you into this role and a bit about your academic journey?

Honestly, I’ve followed a somewhat non-traditional route into this industry. I originally studied law, and then specialised in analytical criminology. I worked for years in cyber risk management and financial fraud analysis. But I got to the point where my role was getting closer to management consulting and I wanted something more technical. So I decided to leave my job and retrain for a few months, before taking on a role as a software developer. I don’t at all regret my previous roles, as I gained a lot of consultancy skills that I still use every day. The days of a software developer sitting all day typing with their headphones on is over – businesses want our technical knowledge but also our ability to consult and work with various stakeholders across their teams!

What are some of the more exciting science and engineering jobs that you are seeing now or you see for the future?

Always a difficult question to answer without straying into buzzword territory! In terms of technology, the whole ‘Cloud’ area is hardly novel any more, but whilst a few years ago it was still thought of as hype, today it’s a core part of engineering for more and more businesses. The big providers (AWS, Azure, GCP) are evolving their platforms and delivering new services at a frightening rate, meaning there is a growing demand in cloud systems engineering.

There’s also a lot of talk about the potential in robotics, much of which is still firmly in the hype cycle! But I would expect more and more practical applications of robotics to emerge in the near future, and this will call for people with a range of technical and scientific skills from materials science and plastics, to software development, to AI and cognitive science.

Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so vital for encouraging young people to consider a future in a science career?

Personally, when I was still in school I struggled to understand the range of careers that were out there in the various scientific fields. Schools do great work in helping with career guidance, but they can only do so much and their advice is often theoretical and focused on what to do at university. Events like Midland Science Festival can do brilliant work by making young people more aware of career paths that exist and what it is actually like to work in a scientific field. These events are also a fantastic way to allow young people to see and experience science in ways they would never get a chance to otherwise.

How can we make science more fun and engaging for young people do you think?

I think it’s absolutely key to make young people ask two questions “how does this work?” and “why does this happen?” We should try to stimulate curiosity and make young people arrive at these questions themselves, motivating them to dig deeper and look for answers. The easiest way to do this is probably to get ‘hands-on’ with science as much as possible – show young people some of the outcomes and products of scientific application and give them the space to explore and question them.

Athlone Technology Company Set to inspire Next Generation

Athlone based technology company Mersus Technologies is providing students with a unique insight into the world of Virtual Reality through their activities for Science Week this year as part of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers event ‘Aspire with Abbott’ in Longford.

Mersus Technologies will have a stand at the event, providing information for all attendees and there will be the opportunity to experience a Virtual cleanroom, the kind that industry will be rolling out globally in the future. Mersus has developed the AVATAR ACADEMY™  which is an immersive Virtual Reality platform that mirrors real-world environments and scenarios so precisely it can be used to train workers in the latest advanced manufacturing processes. This has been achieved through the combination of a team of traditional animation artists working hand in hand with software developers to create innovative computer-generated image media. “We’re the Walt Disney of industrial animation,” says chief executive and co-founder Geoff Allen

Geoff Allen, CEO of Mersus Technologies said,

‘We are really looking forward to attending the upcoming ‘Aspire with Abbott’ event in Longford as part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival. At Mersus Technologies we are always looking for the next generation of talented STEM candidates. Over the past seven years, Mersus has developed a world-class team from local talent right here in the Midlands. Our AVATAR ACADEMY™ virtual training platform harnesses the creative imaginations of youth in applications that are proving extremely valuable for the nation’s Life Science industry. We are confident that our form of animation can rival, in terms of attracting talent and the global success of Ireland’s indigenous entertainment-focused equivalent, over the next few years’.

Talking STEM Careers with the Next Generation …

We are really pleased to team up with a number of expert speakers for Science Week 2019 to deliver a range of high value career talks to schools across the region. Speakers will include biomedical scientist,  lecturer and science communicator Dr. Craig Slattery who is also Chairperson of Midlands Science, Dr Helena Bonner of the Royal College of Surgeons and Midlands native and senior Intel manager, Bridget Molloy who will address senior cycle students in relation to subjects and future careers in STEM.

Bridget Molly commented,

‘I am delighted to be returning to Tullamore as part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival. It is so important to enable students to connect learning to actual real-world situations and show them how much innovation there is in science and technology fields. Midlands Science is doing extensive work to give local schools the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the world of work and the types of future jobs that might be available to them, particularly in the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The more work that can be done in this area, the more likely it is that students will consider one of these fields as a future career option. I am really happy to support this and participate in the aim of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and I am really looking forward to seeing what else will be taking place during this year’s festival which promises to be engaging, educational and fun.’


Delving in to Science Capital …

Great morning exploring #sciencecapital with students at St Brendan’s Community School in #birr and CBS #Mullingar – lots of questions about everything from poisons to animal testing alternatives. #believeinscience

Physical Activity for Life…AIT STEM Talk for Longford Students

We were delighted to welcome Mairead Cantwell, a clinical exercise physiologist to Mean Scoil Mhuire in Longford recently where she delivered an insightful and informative presentation to students as part of our STEM career talks in association with AIT.

Mairead works as  as an assistant lecturer in sport and exercise science at AIT. Clinical exercise physiology focuses on the promotion and prescription of physical activity to individuals living with different chronic conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer).

Her presentation focused on the benefits of physical activity for health throughout the life, and in the context of clinical conditions. She also discussed potential routes into careers in clinical exercise physiology.



Local development company, Midlands Science, teamed up with Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Intel Ireland Ltd this week to deliver an inspiring career talk to students at Loreto College in Mullingar, in advance of the annual Midlands Science Festival.

Enda Fallon from AIT spoke to students about engineering career opportunities and course options available at AIT and Bridget Molloy of Intel Ireland Ltd also addressed students and spoke about her own career in a global company as well as providing insights on other related engineering careers and opportunities for women in STEM.

Enda Fallon said,

‘AIT is delighted to join forces with Midlands Science in promoting the world of science and engineering in Ireland. It is extremely important for AIT as the key Midlands academic provider to provide the local second level student population with inspiring experiences of engineering and to showcase the diverse opportunities and career paths that engineering offers as part of the collective national aim to increase the number of young people who wish to join these professions in the future. We want our workshops and talks to help students to better under the real world of science and engineering and collaborating with Midlands Science particularly as we head into national Science Week 2018 was the perfect opportunity to do this.’

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 11th – 18th and promises a full programme of innovative and fun hands-on events.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“Ireland needs more future scientists and engineers so we really want to ensure that more young people understand what these fields are all about and how they are used and applied in so many aspects of modern living. Giving students the opportunity to talk directly to engineers and engage in hands-on activities that showcase and explain science and engineering is at the heart of what we do and we are delighted to be able to facilitate events for some local schools here in the Midlands to help inspire the next generation.’




Talking Science Careers

The Midlands Science Festival has hosted a large number of science career talks throughout the week with topics ranging from food and nutrition to sports science, science jobs of the future, maths and toxicology.

We would like to thank all of the academic speakers who came to the region to deliver these high value presentations to students. It is fantastic to see how science can be brought to life when someone new and inspiring comes into the classroom and tells a science story from a different perspective.

We were delighted to see hands up after every talk and lots of questions. Thanks again to all who participated and to the regional schools for hosting.