Science Communities: Free Resources for Teachers

Science Communities was an outreach project run by Midlands Science in 2021, funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. This project aimed to build discussion and dialogue between community groups, citizens and various stakeholders and those involved in science and public policy. Through a series of public forums, it provided a way for people to understand the scientific process, explore how evidence is generated and how we can use a scientific mindset to make various decisions in our lives. This project was informed by international best practice in public trust in science, and included 4 public forums, 2 focus groups, research questionnaires as well as leadership training days provided to all participants by LIFT Ireland.

We have taken this series of forums as a project to develop further impactful outreach, and developed 12 individual videos covering a range of topics including food, alcohol, mental health, medication, viruses, vaccines and health choices. These 12 videos are suitable for TY students, students in senior cycle and members of the general public. We have also developed a short workbook to go along with these videos to help teachers easily incorporate them into their lesson plan. Participants from the RSCI, UCD, TCD, DCU, University of Ulster and a number of agencies provided clear and engaging overview of issues in science and we look forward to developing this project further. You can find the videos and associated discussion guide with further resources here.

Expert Panel to Explore Viruses, Vaccines & Immunity with Midlands Science

Midlands Science is pleased to announce that the third event in its virtual Science Communities series will take place on October 20th at 10am (on zoom) and this interactive forum will focus on all things related to Viruses, Vaccines and Immunity. The event is free of charge and open to everyone. The forum will feature a talk from Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin. Now widely recognised as being one of the world’s most influential scientists, Luke is passionate about engaging people on scientific topics. The Science Communities project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme and is designed to build impactful dialogue and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman commented,

‘Through these community forums, which explore science, evidence, health and medicine, we want to create an open conversation about how scientific evidence informs public health advice. We are delighted to host this particular topic given its relevance to the international pandemic and we will be encouraging conversation between members of the audience and our panel of experts who will look at viruses and vaccines, explaining what they are and how they work in our body. We will also be discussing vaccines, immunisation and the national immunisation programme along with vaccine hesitancy and the psychology behind this.’

Professor Luke O’Neill holds the Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, is an author and expert on Immunology and has been a positive voice on how science will beat Covid 19 since March 2020.  Professor Karina Butler, was a Consultant Paediatrician at Children’s Health Ireland specialising in Infectious Diseases for many years. She is a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at UCD and was appointed to NPHET in late 2020, is a member of the COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group of HIQA and a member of the High-Level Task Force for COVID. Professor Jamie Murphy is a Professor in Psychology and a member of the Psychology Research Institute at Ulster University.

Trinity College Dublin Professor of Biochemistry, Luke O’ Neill said,

‘This has been a most alarming period for all of us, but the legacy of this pandemic will be that science delivered on its promise. There comes a great level of responsibility when informing the public of health information relating to Covid19 and it is so critically important to get the facts out and to get the right information across to people because everybody wants to know about it. Understandably, people have so many questions, even now after all this time. The bot tom line though, is that science delivered highly effective, safe vaccines and vaccination truly is the only way out of this pandemic.’

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please email outreach@midlandsscience.ie for more information. For registration details, please check our website on https://www.midlandsscience.ie/

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ocemsqz8sH9Xl7tWRdZdErI7PJk-eVadm

 

 

 

Seek the Evidence with Midlands Forum

Local development company, Midlands Science is pleased to announce the first event which will take place later this summer as part of its new Science Communities project, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme. This initiative is designed to build impactful dialogue and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy.

The first forum which is scheduled to take place online on August 19th will focus on ‘Science in everyday life. Science and scientific evidence.’ As citizens and consumers, we make decisions every day that are affected by science. From miracle anti-aging serums to cures for diseases, this event will open discussion on how we understand science and how to discern evidence so we can make good decisions for ourselves.  Participants will explore different scientific disciplines, the meaning of scientific evidence and whether we can we trust it? It will also look at the quality of research against what is just sensationalised.

Key event speaker, Dr Isabela Aparicio from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland commented,

‘I’m really looking forward to joining the new Midlands Science programme, Science Communities and to virtually engage with this group over the coming months. We are constantly bombarded with scientific information on the news and social media. In particularly over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this information overload, and we have seen rising levels of mixed reporting, misinformation, fake news, and even conspiracy theories, making it very difficult for the public to know on what to trust. We have a pressing need to know how to access the reliable evidence and we hope that in running this forum as part of the overall Science Communities project that we can engage the public and help them to question what they hear in everyday media.’

Other upcoming Science Communities events will include discussions on Sugar, Spice & everything Science – The Science of Food & Alcohol,  Viruses, Vaccines and Immunity – The Science of Diseases and Medicine and Health – Who and how we can trust?

The project will run during the months of August, September, Oc tober and November.  If you are interested in taking part in this project please email outreach@midlandsscience.ie 

 

Connecting Communities Through Science

Midlands Science is pleased to announce Science Communities, an exciting new project which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme and is designed to build impactful dialogue and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy. The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how science and science-based decision making has a powerful effect on our future economic and social wellbeing. It has also taught us about the importance of trusting science, fostering connection and having high-quality dialogue and shared learning. 

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman commented,  

 ‘In order to have an engaged public, it is important to recognise that science is not limited to formal education and is not just a collection of facts. It should also allow people to challenge what they read and hear about. Through community forums, we want to create a realistic and open conversation about the science behind decisions, how scientific evidence informs public health advice and how this information is communicated to the general public. We want to explore where there could be misinformation and resistance among the general public and use this as an opportunity for people to become more informed. We will be encouraging open debate and effective conversation between members of the public, experts from the fields of science and health care and the policy makers in our society. We are keen to be as inclusive as possible and we will therefore be aiming to have a broad range of people from across the Midlands taking part in these forums which will explore a range of issues from food and alcohol to diseases and positive psychology and much more.’ 

 These forums, which will feature leading Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology, Luke O’ Neill will explore the following topics: 

Show me the Evidence – Exploring Science & Scientific Evidence 

 Sugar, Spice & everything Science – The Science of Food & Alcohol  

 Viruses, Vaccines and Immunity – The Science of Diseases 

 Medicine and Health – Who and how we can trust? 

 As an additional support, all ‘Science Communities’ participants will be offered free training in LIFT facilitation skills. LIFT is a not for profit organisation which aims to increase the level of positive leadership in Ireland.  This project is a collaborative opportunity for people to enhance their skills and enable themselves  to become leaders of science engagement in their communities. It will consist of four public engagement forums and one LIFT training day. Given the current restrictions that are still in place nationwide, these public engagement forums and training days will take place online. The project will run during the months of August, September, Oc tober and November.  

 Dr Ruth Freeman, Direc tor of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: 

“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this Science Communities initiative, facilitating open dialogue at a time when understanding how scientific evidence informs public health advice is so important. This inclusive approach to science outreach will hopefully help members of the public feel more informed and more connected to the science behind public health policy, while allowing policy makers to build confidence and trust, by listening to and engaging with the public.” 

Jackie Gorman continued,  

“We are now seeking people from the Midlands  to engage with this project. If you are interested in facilitating discussions and taking in part in open dialogue with others around the topics of health, pandemics, science-based decision making, communication and misinformation, we would like to hear from you. We will be asking a small number of participants to take part in interviews at different stages and this will be crucial to reviewing the overall success of the project but it is not necessary to have any prior knowledge of science in order to partake. We are looking for a broad range of people from the midlands to participate and we are particularly interested in engaging people who would not usually interact with science or STEM in their everyday lives.” 

If you are interested in taking part in this project please email outreach@midlandsscience.ie