Launch of the 21st Galway Science & Technology Festival


Press Release

Issued Tuesday 16th October, 2018


Galway Science & Technology Festival 2018 celebrates 21 years of inspiring and educating young students about the world around us.


The Galway Science & Technology Festival celebrates 21 years as Ireland’s premier Festival for the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s National Science Week. The 2018 Festival was launched at an event on Tuesday by RTÉ’s, and Galway’s own, Bug Doctor, Dr. Michel Dugon at Medtronic’s Customer Innovation Centre in Parkmore. Medtronic is the Festival’s main sponsor in 2018, as they have been for the past 16 years. The Festival will run for two weeks from 11th to 25th November, with over 200 events taking place in schools throughout Galway city and county, and will culminate in the amazing Science & Technology Exhibition on the NUI Galway campus on Sunday 25th November.


Dr. Dugon has presented Bug Hunters on RTÉ Junior, and is a lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway with research interests in developing medications from venom of snakes, spiders and scorpions as described in his recent TEDx talk ‘The Secrets of Spider Venom’ broadcast this month, with over 800,000 views so far, at At the launch, he spoke with students from Woodford National School, and secondary school students from Dominican College Taylors Hill, treating them to an ‘up close and personal’ look at some of his animal friends.


Speaking at the launch Dr Dugon said, “I have been involved in the Galway Science and Technology Festival for the past five years, meeting thousands of pupils of all ages and all backgrounds. I have found every single school I have visited to be animated by a genuine thirst for knowledge, making this a very special time of the year for me. The Festival is a truly unique opportunity for academics and scientists to go on the road and to reach the next generation of citizens, scientists, and leaders. “


A highlight for this year’s Festival will be the highly-acclaimed Enigma project, which will bring mathematics to life through the fascinating history of codes and code-breaking, from ancient times through World War Two and to today’s world of hacking and internet encryption. Hosted by the wonderful British Mathematician Dr. James Grime, it will include a demonstration of an authentic WWII Enigma machine and its association with Bletchley Park and the British mathematician, and father of computing, Alan Turing.


The Festival will also follow an astronomical, and space discovery, theme. It will, for the first time, host the National Schools Observatory from the UK, bringing fascinating astronomy workshops to schools and professional training to teachers. The NSO provides schools in the UK and Ireland with free access to the world’s largest fully-robotic telescope, the Liverpool Telescope, owned and operated by John Moore’s University, Liverpool, and based in La Palma in the Canary Islands. Continuing on the theme of space discovery, NASA astronaut Commander Shane Kimbrough, will visit Galway to speak about his experiences as commander of the International Space Station.


Other popular and entertaining events will include Sue McGrath, who brings her new show ‘Ireland’s Ingenious Engineers’ to schools; and James Soper, who returns with ‘Your Beautiful Biased Brain’. Workshops by staff and students from NUI Galway will feature CÚRAM’s ‘Science on Screen’ series, allowing students learn about research on Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and tendon injuries; and an exciting new dance theatre piece Explore the World of Nanoscience with Dance and Theatre!’ where art and science intertwine to explore physics, technology and wonder. Events will also take place at the Atlantaquaria, Brigid’s Garden, and Galway libraries throughout the city and county.  Career talks will be delivered in NUI Galway by the recent recipient of the Grace Hopper Award, Brenda Romero, of Romero Games and by members of the Science Foundation Ireland Smart Futures Roadshow. The entire Festival programme features over 200 free events, reaching 35,000 primary and secondary school students supported by main sponsor Medtronic, by NUI Galway, by Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Fidelity, Galway LEO, GMIT, Creganna/TE, IDA Ireland, Galway county council, Marine Institute, Merit Medical, EA Games, Aerogen, Valeo, Enterprise Ireland and Romero Games.


“Medtronic’s longstanding partnership with the Galway Science & Technology Festival is one of collaboration and innovation where each year we strive to produce a creative, interactive learning experience for children in a fun environment,” said Ronan Rogers, new product development director at Medtronic.  “Our approach is focused on engaging with young people to help inspire them to participate in and consider the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and our partnership is an opportunity to lay the foundations for a lifelong interest and career in the area.”


The Festival’s fantastic one-day Exhibition will take place on Sunday 25th November across the NUI Galway campus and promises to inspire, educate and amaze visitors of all ages, tastes and curiosities, with a wide range of wonderful exhibits, talks, demonstrations and workshops.  Tickets for shows and workshops will be released on Saturday 17th November at 11am on


Paul Mee, Chairperson, Galway Science and Technology Festival, underscores the importance of this annual Festival. “Galway has developed a global reputation as a med-tech hub and growing tech hub: a recent IBEC report stated Galway has the highest STEM graduates in the labour market. He went on to say, ‘This Festival has grown in popularity and reach each year and now, in its 21st year, it continues to play a vital role in nurturing and guiding students to develop their curiosity about the world around us, encouraging them into careers in STEM,  where they will continue to research and develop new technologies that help to sustain our growing economy and provide a better place to live”  In conclusion Mr Mee advised, “We encourage anyone interested in finding out more to come along to the Exhibition on Sunday 25th November at NUI Galway and be inspired and educated by our many experts in these fields.”


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The Galway Science & Technology Festival was founded in 1998 to inspire and educate students about careers in STEM and the opportunity to study STEM related courses in third level.  The Festival has grown year on year to become the largest event as part of National Science Week.  The aim of the Festival is to give children and teenagers positive and entertaining experiences of how science is all around us and to showcase the many innovations developed by the leading multinational and indigenous companies based in the West.  The Science Exhibition is the largest of its kind in Ireland and offers families a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in all things science and technology on the campus of NUI Galway.

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