CAPPA was delighted to recently received SFI Discover Funding for their new workshop series “Light Up Your World.” The ‘LightUp Your World’ Workshop Series is a series in which photonics researchers can, deliver workshops communicating the relevance of photonics in different application areas including the environment, food production and healthcare.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Education Norma Foley TD on the 6th of March announced an investment of more than €6 million in 40 projects to empower diversity and inclusion in STEM. SFI Discover Programme awardees will be encouraged to use the funding to build connections with less-represented voices, or with those who would not typically engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In addition, the awardees target a range of geographic locations and incorporate themes such as climate change and biodiversity. Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “The SFI Discover Programme aims to stimulate an open and inclusive conversation on STEM, empowering participation and growing talent, with the aim of ensuring everyone can bring forward ideas and solutions for our society. The SFI Discover Programme targets projects that empower and inspire deep public engagement with STEM, creating new initiatives with people and not for them. Minister Foley said: “The Department of Education is pleased to collaborate with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science once again this year by supporting projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme intended to enhance, nurture and support STEM education.
Photonics is a light enabling technology, which underpins a wide range of application areas, from internet and medical imaging to environmental monitoring and food production. However, this ‘behind the scenes’ nature means that the public, and schoolchildren in particular, are often unaware of the full importance, impact and possibilities of photonics. The ultimate aim of the ‘LightUp Your World’ Workshop Series is to establish a toolkit and resources so that photonics researchers can deliver workshops communicating the relevance of photonics in different application areas. By using a modular approach, the content can be rapidly and easily adapted to different age groups and audience knowledge levels. Within the scope of this SFI Discover project, a series of four Workshops will be co-designed in collaboration with physics teachers from four schools. Each workshop will focus on how photonics contributes to a particular societal challenge, e.g. ‘LightUp the Environment’, ‘LightUp Food Production’, ‘LightUp Healthcare’. Following the co-design, content creation and presenter training phases, the workshops will be delivered to transition year students at four schools, as an initial assessment trial. Building on this groundwork established by the project, it is envisaged that the content and number of stakeholders will be subsequently expanded, to ultimately form a comprehensive suite of outreach tools for photonics researchers to effectively communicate with a wide range of audiences.
This was the only project from Munster Technological University that received funding during this call. if you would like further information about the LightUp workshop, contact us here.