Some highlights from Athlone…

The opportunity to explore the science of Chernobyl in Athlone Library, space exploration at the Rocketeers Roadshow with Simon Watt and Harry Potter science were just some of the exciting experiences which took place in Westmeath during Science Week last week.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘We were delighted through support from Science Foundation Ireland and a number of key partnerships to bring a number of exciting science events to the Midlands again this year. We were delighted to again be working with partners such as the local heritage offices, companies, schools and libraries. Most of the event tickets were sold in advance so it was fantastic to witness the excitement that people anticipated. As Hermione Granger said “when in doubt, go to the library !” We hope that people enjoyed the events in their local area and we are already looking forward to an even bigger Science Week in the Midlands next year.’

The festival brings sciences out into the cultural mainstream in a more accessible, creative and impactful way. It was a wonderful opportunity for science enthusiasts to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology. The large public turnout again this year showed there is a great appetite for this type of regional educational event and one of the most encouraging factors was the diversity of the audiences attracted during the week.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘The Midlands Science Festival itself aims to engage and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to become leaders of tomorrow. It encourages experimentation and collaboration, inspiring students to solve real-world problems. We work to promote science throughout the year so keep an eye out for what we have coming next!’



Photos: Pupils from Athlone exploring the Science of Harry Potter with Anyone 4 Science in  Athlone Library during the annual Midlands Science Festival as part of Science Week 2019

Students, Families and Teachers ASPIRE with ABBOTT at Special STEM Event in Longford

LONGFORD, Nov. 8, 2019 – Abbott, the global healthcare company, hosted a special event in the Back Stage Theatre in Longford that explored career opportunities that exist within the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Delivered in partnership with Midland Science Festival, ASPIRE with ABBOTT brought together parents, teachers and students to hear from guest speakers, Abbott employees and patients whose lives have been impacted by innovative healthcare technologies.

The speakers included Dr. Craig Slattery, a biomedical scientist, lecturer at UCD and a science communicator; Dr Niamh Shaw, one of Ireland’s leading science communicators, a scientist and actress; and Paul Carroll, Business Development Director of Cpl Resources, a recognised leader in workforce solutions and specialist recruitment.

Abbott employees based at the company’s diagnostics business in Longford also shared their own personal experiences in STEM-related roles. This included their career journeys, the range of opportunities that they have taken, their current roles and what it is like to work in a global healthcare company.

Daragh Fallon, CSR and Communications Manager for Abbott, shared the vision behind ASPIRE with Abbott: “As a global health technology company that recruits world-class scientists and engineers, we know that young people are a critical factor in solving the world’s biggest problems with smart, imaginative thinking.

“The world of STEM can feel daunting for both young people and their families, particularly if it is unfamiliar. ASPIRE with ABBOTT aims to provide a creative experience that encourages young people to engage in STEM. The evening focused on topics such as the importance of subject choice, the future of work and how to build a pathway to third-level education and beyond.


“This event is part of our wider commitment to support our communities across Ireland. Last year our employees delivered more than 7,000 volunteer hours to good causes across the country. We are passionate about supporting young people and education, and this is the focus of much of our community work.”

Throughout November, Abbott will be hosting events nationwide that aim to engage more than 1,000 children, parents and teachers including two more ASPIRE with ABBOTT events in Sligo (13th Nov) and Clonmel (16th Nov). For more information visit

About Abbott:
Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 103,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

Abbott in Ireland:
Abbott serves the Irish market with a diverse range of health care products including diagnostics, medical devices and nutritionals products. In Ireland, Abbott employs almost 4,000 people across nine sites. We have six manufacturing facilities located in Clonmel, Cootehill, Donegal, Longford and Sligo and a third-party manufacturing management operation in Sligo. Abbott has commercial, support operations and shared services in Dublin and Galway. We have been operating in Ireland since 1946.

Brian Harrison, MKC Communications | +353 1 7038616


Free Discovery Day for Science Week in Tullamore

Excitement is building for an upcoming family Discovery Day due to take place in the Sacred Heart School this November 9th. This event is part of the annual Midlands Science Festival and it is sponsored by Tullamore based medical technology company, Integra LifeSciences.

Maria Rogers of Integra LifeSciences in Tullamore said,

‘We are delighted to join forces with Midlands Science once again for the annual Science Week celebrations and to support this fun and informative Discovery Day which will be a real treat for the whole family. It is extremely important for Integra LifeSciences as a local employer to provide as many young people as possible with inspiring experiences of science and to encourage them to consider science as a subject choice for the future. The workshops and experiences that people will find at the Discovery Day will not only extend people’s real-world understanding of science but it will also provide an opportunity for fun, creativity and learning which is what science should be all about.’

Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology with 19 manufacturing plants worldwide is dedicated to limiting uncertainty for surgeons, so they can concentrate on providing the best patient care. Integra offers innovative solutions in orthopedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, and reconstructive and general surgery. Integra has an enduring tradition of giving back. Part of Integra’s CSR Strategy is to create an awareness of science & technology skills and careers among students and teachers, by actively supporting positive STEM experiences in the Midlands. Integra’s local partnership with Midlands Science has enabled the company to facilitate the organization and delivery of hands-on workshops in local primary and secondary schools during the Midlands Science Festival over the past few years.

The Discovery Day will include Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience, the Exploration Dome, the Reptile Zoo, Anyone 4 Science, the 501st Legion, Dale Treadwell’s Dinosaur Show, Cell Explorers and much more. Come along and make some ice cream, meet a storm trooper, hold a tarantula, explore the night’s sky and visit the 1960’s with Dr Mindflip. The event is free but booking is required on and if you cannot attend, please cancel your place so it can be re-allocated.

Midlands Science to Partner with National Museum of Ireland for Unique Science Week events

Midlands Science is pleased to announce details of unique Science Week activities in Laois this year which are part of a new collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland which will see the National Museum bringing educational outreach activities to the Midlands region for Science Week.  This year’s activities in Laois are presented in partnership with the Heritage Office of Laois County Council.

Siobhan Pierce, Education Officer, Archaeology & Natural History at National Museum of Ireland commented,

‘We are excited this November to bring a day of events to communities in Laois, that will explore the rich archaeological evidence of life in the past in Ireland. Science Week is always busy for the Museum as we hold events to explain the science in archaeology and it is great to have a strong partnership which enables us to bring these events to the people who live in Portlaoise. Families can discover by joining in the Viking Artefact Challenge, just how archaeologists and museums discover evidence of everything from what Vikings ate, to their dress sense, and later that evening one of the Museum’s Archaeologists will give a public lecture for adults on one of the largest scientific projects of the Museum, the Bog Bodies Research Project. We were delighted when Jackie Gorman of Midlands Science approached us and to work with Heritage Officer Catherine Casey on this Science Week partnership. These events are the result of what is to the Museum an important partnership between the Museum with Midlands Science and the County Heritage Officers of the midland counties, and one which will continue for a number of years to plan and bring Science Week events to towns in the Irish midlands.’

The public event in Laois is appropriate for aged 14+ and will explore the history and science of bog bodies in Ireland with Isabella Mulhall, Assistant Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland. The NMI Bog Bodies Research Project was established in 2003 following the discoveries of two remarkably well- preserved Iron Age bog bodies in the Irish midlands. The scientific investigation which followed produced a wealth of exciting results.  Since 2003, further finds of bog bodies have come to light in Ireland’s peatlands and include the exceptionally well-preserved remains of Cashel Man unearthed in Cúil na Móna Bog in 2011 and subsequently radiocarbon dated to 2000 BC. This event entitled “Secrets of the Bog Revealed – The National Museum of Ireland Bog Bodies Research Project” takes place on Thursday November 14th at the Midlands Park Hotel and booking is available online on

Earlier that day at Treo Nua from 3pm to 5pm, there is a free family drop in event which does not require booking. This event will allow participants to explore the archaeological evidence of the Vikings with reference to Laois.  Did you know that archaeologists use lots of scientific techniques to figure out what life was like in Ireland hundreds and even thousands of years ago? Educators from the National Museum of Ireland will have lots of replica artefacts and raw materials, which you can pick up and take a closer look at. Use this evidence to solve the puzzle and discover how the Vikings cleverly used antler, wood, bone and amber in centuries past!

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

‘A key focus for Midlands Science is the provision of activities which demonstrate connections between science and culture. We are delighted to be working this year with the National Museum in Laois. The drop-in event for families and the public event for adults will enable us to reach new audiences and stress the important of science in understanding our heritage and culture. Our aim is to engage people of all ages and increase public awareness of science and it wouldn’t be possible to do this without the support of organisations such as the National Museum, so we are really grateful for the commitment and passion they have shown towards this outreach. We are also extremely grateful to the Heritage Office of Laois County Council whom have been so supportive, engaged and involved in our Science Festival since its inception and it’s a pleasure to be working with them on this project. Archaeology draws on a wide variety of science disciplines such as geology, physics, chemistry, statistics and botany, providing us with the tools with which to explore and understand our past and these events are a unique way to engage with science and heritage’

Catherine Casey, Heritage Office of Laois County Council said,

‘We were delighted to once again be supporting the annual Midlands Science Festival. Whether your interest today is in science, heritage, culture, engineering, maths or elsewhere, this year’s festival programme will have something special to spark the imagination and feed your curiosity. These events which takes place as part of national Science Week are a fantastic opportunity to promote science education to Laois pupils and especially to reach young children with the more fun and hands-on workshops. Visitors are also offered a unique chance to listen to real historical and scientific data, broadening their understanding from a completely fresh perspective.’

 Photo ©NMI 

‘Travels in Chernobyl’ for Athlone during Science Week

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a key public event happening in Athlone next month as part of the annual Midlands Science Festival. This event will take place on November 12th at 6:30pm in Athlone Library and will explore the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986. The radiation exposure to the Irish population, as a result of the Chernobyl accident, has been estimated based on the large number of foodstuffs and environmental samples measured at the time. It was calculated that Chernobyl resulted in an approximate three per cent increase in radiation exposure to the average Irish person in the twelve months following the accident.

Science teacher, writer and birdwatcher Rory Duffy will explore the science of Chernobyl and his recent visit to the site. The discussion will be moderated by toxicologist, Dr Craig Slattery of UCD and he will be joined by Prof Gillian O’Brien of John Moores University Liverpool. Gillian has a special interest in dark tourism and the human fascination with disaster sites.

Rory Duffy said,
‘A real understanding of science involves whole-life learning beyond the confines of the classroom so I am really looking forward to participating in this year’s Midlands Science Festival; which brings science out into the wider local community. Events like these provide unique opportunities to explore a whole range of subjects and themes with people of all ages, helping to improve public engagement and ideally leading to an increased uptake in STEM education courses. We need to really focus on supporting our young people in developing their core science and technology skills, both within and outside of the science lab. We need to work in collaboration with partners to raise awareness and encourage and influence participation in STEM and the annual Midlands Science Festival is an ideal way to increase our efforts to do this.’

Every year during Science Week and indeed throughout the rest of the year, the Midlands Science team endeavour to make science exciting for everyone by featuring lively, high profile talks, hands-on activities and fascinating demonstrations where the extraordinary properties of science, technology, engineering, and math collide!

You can find ways to join the conversation by checking for details of events happening during Science Week 2019 across the region.

Something for everyone at the Midlands Science Festival!

As the upcoming annual Midlands Science Festival and national Science Week grow closer, local development agency Midlands Science is gearing up to provide an array of incredible events and science fun across the Midlands. Science Week which is managed by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Discover Programme has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year.
The Midlands Science Festival, which begins on November 9th, celebrates science in the region with original programming that includes lively debates and lectures, film productions, hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations for people of all ages. All things science will be explored through shows, demonstrations and talks to advance our understanding and appreciation of everything from astronomy to zoology.

This year’s festival includes a family open day, Travels in Chernobyl, the Science of Harry Potter, Cancer Causes and Cures Myth Busting, National Museum of Ireland outreach events and much more. Popular activities such as science knitting patterns for local knitters and a Science Festival Book Club for adult and younger readers are back again this year. Exploring everything from invisible ink to Darth Vader’s voice, the Midlands Science Festival is a unique opportunity to explore science through a diverse programme of interactive events, workshops and shows. This year’s festival also includes a strong focus on climate change issues and sustainability and a specially curated ASD appropriate event. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and a number of corporate and academic partners, this is the seventh year of the festival.

Dr. Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society in SFI commented,
‘Science Week is SFI’s key annual events which aims to foster a greater understanding of the value of science to society and to increase the numbers of young people studying science and related fields. It gives people a chance to hear from national and global experts who have the ability to engage in conversations about science and technology in an inspiring and motivational way. Each festival offer an exciting line-up of programming, with a number of influential performers and leaders in their fields sharing their expertise and inviting audiences to join conversations that should encourage us all to be champions of science and curiosity. SFI is pleased to continue its support of Midlands Science in its efforts to engage with as many people in the region with science fields.’

The Midlands Science Festival itself aims to engage and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to become leaders of tomorrow. It encourages experimentation, collaboration, inspiring students to solve real-world problems. This is the first year that Midlands Science will be partnering with organisations such as the National Museum of Ireland to demonstrate that important connection between science, culture and the arts. The week long programme will also feature Marty Jopson of BBC’s The One Show, celebrity Chef Louise Lennox exploring the science of gastronomy and Simon Watt who has regularly featured on Channel 4 and Discovery with his science programmes.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,
‘We are delighted through support from Science Foundation Ireland and a number of key partnerships to be bringing a number of exciting science events to the Midlands again this year. We will be exploring everything from climate change to the science of Harry Potter, from bog bodies to quantum physics. Science Week is the essence of diversity. We have always strived to link the science issues we explore in our outreach work with everyday life and experiences and this year, we are more than ever conscious of this, as climate change is a national theme for Science Week. This is an issue which increasingly affects all aspects of our lives. Science can help us understand what is happening and also provide us with the information to make different choices and pursue solutions in the future. We are delighted to again be working with partners such as the local heritage offices, local partnership companies and libraries. As Hermione Granger said “when in doubt, go to the library !” We hope that people will take the opportunity to attend some of the events which we have programmed for this year, they are all free and feature world class experts who are passionate about science and sharing that passion with others.’

The festival takes sciences out of scholarly journals and traditional laboratories into the cultural mainstream in a more accessible, creative and impactful way. It a wonderful opportunity for science enthusiasts to see what’s new and innovative in the world of science and technology. It is also the perfect chance for someone who is just tipping their toe into science for the first time, to participate in over 100 hands-on activities and live performances by science explorers, communicators and experts whose mission it is to educate, entertain, inform and inspire.

Jackie Gorman continued,
‘Every year we want the festival to ignite curiosity and let people discover that science and technology can offer amazing opportunities, often in ways that they may not realise. This year’s calendar of activity is bigger and better than ever. We are delighted to announce an extra element to our 2019 programming which includes a free, Discovery Day in Co. Offaly. This event will allow families to immerse themselves in a wide array of exciting and meaningful science experiences, such as Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience, star gazing with the Exploration Dome, snakes and spiders with the Reptile Zoo, Dinosaurs with Dale Treadwell, Star War science and lots more! Keep a close eye on for booking details and information which will be added over the coming weeks and please join us in celebrating science in the Midlands this November.’

New Local Board Members Appointed

Midlands Science is pleased to announce the recent appointments of Dr. Aisling Twohill and Ms. Caroline Brazil to their Board of Directors.

Chairperson of Midlands Science, Dr. Craig Slattery said,

“On behalf of the current board of Midlands Science, I am pleased to welcome Caroline and Aisling to join us during this period of exciting growth. Both new members bring an incomparable wealth of leadership, experience and strategic vision in the relevant areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and their expertise will further enhance the proficiency of the board as we continue to build deeper relationships with schools, partners and colleagues within the STEM education sector here in this region and beyond. Science opens the doors to many jobs in a wide range of sectors but in order to ensure the availability of more skilled scientists and engineers locally, a sustained and collaborative effort of science education promotion is necessary. These new appointees will join existing members to guide Midlands Science in its wide array of programmes and partnerships to help foster the future local STEM workforce.’

Caroline Brazil is a native of Co. Offaly, a graduate of Waterford IT where she studied Languages & Marketing and is Global Business Owner for Time and Expenses in Accenture. Caroline is the current Chairperson of the Global Business Services Network of Ireland, a knowledge sharing forum of over 100 multi- national, indigenous & public sector companies.

Caroline said,

‘I am very passionate about Inclusion and Diversity in all forms and am really excited to accept the board position with Midlands Science. I have been really impressed with the outreach work they are already doing in the Midlands and I am hopeful that I can use my experience and network to continue this fantastic work to our children in all of the Midland counties.’

Dr. Aisling Twohill has also been appointed to the board of Midlands Science and she is a lecturer in Mathematics Education, in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at DCU. Aisling completed her PhD in DCU, wherein she examined the algebraic thinking of children attending primary school in Ireland, within the context of shape patterning. Her research interests encompass the complexities for teachers in facilitating meaningful mathematical thinking for all children, and also the perspective on mathematics held by teachers, children and others. Aisling encourages people to see both how enjoyable solving challenging problems can be, and how purposeful maths is in many areas of life.

Aisling said, “I am delighted to join the Midlands Science board and look forward to working together with my colleagues to continue to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education in the Midlands region and beyond. I am particularly interested in ensuring that as many children as possible grow to love maths as a subject and it is critical that this starts early, in younger classrooms, through fun and innovative ways of teaching at all levels. Maths is in high demand from employers recruiting across all industries and at national level, the government has become increasingly focused on stressing the importance of mathematical skills to Ireland’s economic future. It is important therefore for us to become more conscious of how to integrate maths into everyday activities and through my work with Midlands Science, I aim to ensure that we do more of this in the Midlands and really demonstrate that Maths is at the heart of so many careers and disciplines. We must continue to encourage our young people to embrace the subject which will hopefully help to lead them to a sustainable career into the future.’

Dr. Craig Slattery continued,

‘The addition of these directors complements our board of directors’ existing skills, energy and experiences and we are confident they will provide valuable perspectives and guidance as we continue to execute our strategy for the years ahead.’



Midlands Science today announced the appointment of a new Expert Advisory Panel which will consist of the following members;  Dr. Helena Bonner of the Royal College of Surgeons (RSCI), Dr Dan Nickström of National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Ms Anne Naughton, Athlone IT and Regional Skills.

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science CEO said, ‘Midlands Science is delighted that the inaugural Independent Expert Advisory Panel will be contributing to our work in STEM outreach going forward. This Panel will provide Midlands Science with expert and independent advice on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach and how it can be grown in the Midlands in terms of its overall reach and impact.’

Dr. Helena Bonner works in the department of Physiology and Medical Physics and in the Centre for Systems Medicine in RCSI and is involved in various STEM projects, one of which comprises of a three-day structured TY programme called ‘Mini Science’. She hosts various seminars and laboratory tours in RCSI to TY and 5th year students. She also visits various secondary schools in the midlands throughout the school term to talk about the different careers available to STEM graduates, and the ample opportunities that are available in the different STEM sectors.  Dr. Bonner said, ‘I am delighted to join Midlands Science and work with many other committed individuals as they continue to make great progress in promoting science as a career to people of all ages. It’s important for us to explore new ways to collectively change the face of STEM and reach out to young people to inform them on the type of research being undertaken at RCSI and to encourage them to pursue these exciting careers.’

Dr Dan Nickström graduated with a degree in applied physics from Dublin City University (DCU) and then completed a PhD in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute and Department of Physical Sciences. Along with these areas of interest he has always been a keen communicator of science and received several awards in that area. He has worked in various areas of physics education across several universities since completing his PhD. He began teaching in the Experimental Physics Department at Maynooth in 2017 and acted as course coordinator for the Certificate in Science in 2018/19 while also lecturing across a wide range of topics in physics.  He commented, “We need to actively encourage existing current students as well as future generations to embrace all of the multi-faceted areas related to STEM.  I look forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues in Midlands Science and to focusing our efforts on continuing to stimulate curiosity about the world around us and foster a sense of wonder in pupils from the earliest years. ‘

Anne Naughton graduated with a Masters Degree in Computing Science from DIT and has since worked in various roles in the Third Level Education Sector at Athlone IT. Anne is currently working as a Project Officer for ‘Skills for Growth’  with Regional Skills part of the Skills Planning and Enterprise Engagement Unit of the Department of Education and Skills which will aid in building a more complete picture of regional and national skills needs and contributing towards a more robust national response in future.  Anne commented, ‘The importance of students continuing with science subjects into third level cannot be overestimated. We not only need to prepare them to take on the jobs of the future but we must also help our current workforce to adapt the changing STEM environment through relevant retraining and up-skilling. Young peoples’ lives are increasingly influenced by science and engineering in ways that they might still be unaware. I am privileged to join the Midlands Science team and hope that I can contribute to their mission to increase local skills development in this diverse area and also to help improve the efficiency and impact of the great work that is already being carried out in the area of STEM education promotion here in this region.’

Jackie Gorman continued, “This distinguished new panel will bring fresh eyes and original approaches to our strategic plan. I look forward to hearing their recommendations around a wide range of science education and engagement issues and to working with them to ensure that we are constantly rethinking what STEM education means for students here in the Midlands and beyond.’


-Ends –

Photo; Anne Naughton


Gaming, Intubation and Space Flight

Exploring the World of Engineering in Athlone for Engineers Week with Medtronic

Students from the Midlands got a unique insight into the world of engineering by taking part in a series of workshops at AIT organised by Midlands Science in association with Medtronic. As part of Engineers Week, the workshops explored everything from space flight to polymer engineering at this unique event at AIT. Students also had a unique chance to act as life-savers, performing an intubation procedure on a dummy patient. Many of the students were familiar with the procedure from medical TV shows, where the procedure is often shown in life or death situations in an emergency room. With some instruction from Medtronic staff, students got the chance to try out this for themselves and learn about Medtronic.  Tracheal intubation, usually simply referred to as intubation is frequently performed in critically injured, ill, or anesthetized patients to facilitate ventilation of the lungs. Medtronic produces a range of intubation products in a full range of sizes from adult to paediatric. Through a series of career talks, students also learnt about various careers in Medtronic and about how engineering is really about thinking creatively and enjoying solving problems.

Science and Technology communicator Declan Holmes delivered a series of shows exploring space exploration and the role that engineering plays in such exploration.  The Engineering Department at AIT delivered a series of engineering workshops exploring civil, software and polymer engineering, reflecting the wide variety of engineering courses available at the Institute. Students also got the chance to engage with Dr Mindflip’s Ultimate Learning Experience, a science outreach project with a difference! Known to many from its appearances at various locations around the country, it provides students with an immersive experience where they choose their own adventure in a game and follow the story of a mad scientist, Dr MindFlip, and his robot assistant Anustasia. This award-winning outreach project was developed by a team of scientists, film-makers, script-writers and artists with a view to making physics and engineering more accessible and engaging for young audiences. It is housed in a vintage caravan, resembling a type of metallic machine on the outside, something you could imagine out of a Tim Burton movie, which turns out to be an interactive video game about physics and engineering on the inside.

Engineers Week is a national week-long celebration of the world of engineering in Ireland. Everything from bubbles in chocolate bars to life-saving cancer treatments involves engineering. However, not enough young people, especially young girls think it’s a world for them, so industry often struggles to recruit engineering talent. It also means that young people are missing out on exciting opportunities to make a difference in their own lives and the world around them. Engineers Week is coordinated nationally by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme, which is funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme Call. Dr Sean Lyons of AIT commented that events such as this were “instrumental in encouraging the future matriculation of secondary school students into STEM subjects and, ultimately, careers.”


As a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, Medtronic improves the lives and health of millions of people each year. The company is committed to improving lives through its medical technologies and solutions. With roots in Ireland since 1981, the company now employs more than 4,000 people across five sites in Galway, Dublin and Athlone. Medtronic Athlone manufactures airways products and also features an R&D Centre of Excellence.



The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 11th – 18th and is a wonderful chance to bridge the gap between science and the public, opening discussion around many important developments and build people’s science capital in the region.

The week-long annual event, which is hosted by the Midlands Science and a number of partners including one of Ireland’s leading healthcare companies, Abbott in Longford, is heading into its sixth year and promises to bring together members of the public with scientists, engineers, technologists and science workshop performers. With over 120 free events on offer across the Midlands region, large numbers of people are expected to turn out to celebrate science this November.

The festival is an excellent opportunity to inspire young adults and the next generation of scientists. One of the activities on the agenda for Longford this year includes a day exploring “What Happens Next?” at Longford County Library on Nov 13th.  This interactive lecture suitable for primary school classes from 4th class up. In the presentations, a series of simple experiments are demonstrated, but paused at a critical point and students asked to predict what will happen next? Subjects covered include forces, light and reflections, heat transfer and electricity.

This year’s festival also sees the return of qualified marine biologists, Marine Dimensions, where lessons on living things in Ireland’s seas and oceans will take place in Ballymahon Library all day on the 14th of November. This workshop includes a touchpool containing live sea creatures, including starfish, shrimp, anemones, crabs and sea snails and is always a popular Science Week activity with younger pupils.

On November 16th, Granard Library will host the Reptile Zoo Village where a variety of animals from snakes and spider to tortoise will be visiting for the day and on the 17th Midlands Science is delighted to welcome back the award-winning team from ‘Anyone for Science’ – this time to Longford County Library. Their hands-on, age-appropriate workshops are suitable for children from Junior Infants to 6th Class and every child gets to participate in some hands-on science.

Jackie Gorman, Midlands Science Festival Director said,

‘Science is all around us in everything we can see and touch and this is the sixth year that a free programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the Midlands counties. You don’t need to be a science expert or professor to begin to explore the world of science and our festival is an excellent event for giving both children and adults opportunities to think about the world around them and about why things actually are the way they are!

We are particularly looking forward to the ‘Discovery Day, which will take place in Saturday, November 10th in St. Mel’s secondary school in Longford from 10:00am until 2:00pm. The event will be run in partnership with Abbott and will offer a unique opportunity for students and their parents or guardians to experience a whole range of science and technology fun, including science activities with Anyone 4 Science, The Dinosaur Show with Dale Treadwell, The Exploration Dome, The Reptile Zoo Village, the Under the Microscope team, and innovative science activities with Abbott.’

The science festival will highlight cutting-edge research and bring together people from across the scientific disciplines and beyond. A key aim throughout the festival and Science Week itself is to get people thinking about science in a wider context and how it plays a critical and central role in every element of our society.’

See for more event details and booking and join us this November 11th-18th in celebrating science in Longford!


One of our spider friends from the Reptile Zoo Village