ReelLIFE SCIENCE: Encouraging People to Engage With Science And Technology

One of the highlights of the 2017 Galway Science and Technology Festival will be ReelLIFE SCIENCE who have been involved with the Festival for the past five years. Each year, ReelLIFE SCIENCE run a nationwide science video competition to encourage primary and secondary schools and community groups to engage with science and technology. At the Festival, the best three-minute videos from the competition will be screened at the ‘ReelLIFE SCIENCE Cinema’ while the filmmakers will also receive their prizes on the day. We asked Dr. Enda O’Connell, ReelLIFE SCIENCE Director, a few questions about the event.


2017 ReelLIFE SCIENCE Primary School Winners from Sooey NS, Co. Sligo


All events at the GSTF are free. School events can be booked here and online booking for free tickets to events and shows at the Festival Exhibition Sunday 26th November are available at, 70% are online and the remaining 30% are available on the day. All events are free.


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1. Tell us a bit about yourself and ReelLIFE SCIENCE


Since 2005, I have worked at NUI Galway as a Senior Technical Officer, where I run the Genomics and Screening Core Facility, supporting biomedical research in areas such as drug discovery, stem cells and cancer biology. I am also the founding director of the ReelLIFE SCIENCE outreach and public engagement programme, which was established in 2013.


Each year, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges primary and secondary school students and community group members to pick up a smartphone or video camera and make a short video about a topic such as ‘How Things Work’ or ‘Science and Me’. The programme aims to encourage participants of all ages to engage with science in a novel way, while developing their communication and digital skills.


Since 2013, more than 8,500 participants in 300 schools and community groups nationwide have produced hundreds of short science videos. These videos have been viewed online by more than 100,000 people in over 100 countries worldwide as well as thousands more at the Galway Science and Technology Festival.


Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, Canadian Astronaut and ReelLIFE SCIENCE Special Guest Judge for 2015, meeting that year’s Primary School Winners, Scoil Aonghusa Tallaght, in Galway


2. Tell us about your 2017 GSTF event and what you have planned!



The ReelLIFE SCIENCE Cinema will show some of the best videos from this year’s competition on the big screen. The three-minute videos, a mixture of live action and animated films, have been made by schools and community groups from all over the country on everything from virtual reality to forensics to hot air balloons.


Each video explores a different aspect of science and technology in a fun, original and thought-provoking way. The 2017 winning videos were selected from almost 200 entries by a panel of Special Guest Judges, including NASA Aerospace Engineer Amber Gell, who said “All of these students should feel like winners, because they did an exceptional job with their entries. I had a lot of fun watching the videos and learning more about their favourite science concepts. You’re only as good as your competition and the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition clearly brings out the best in us. It stirs a healthy public interest in science and inspires so many great minds to compete.”


Many of the filmmakers will be at the Festival to see their videos on the big screen and to receive their prizes at the Festival Awards Ceremony, when ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award over €5000 directly to the schools and community groups.


3. When is it taking place and where?


The ReelLIFE SCIENCE Cinema is taking place in the Larmor Theatre in the Blue Zone on Sunday November 26th. Every hour from 11 AM, the best short science videos from this year’s competition will be screened (approx. 40 minutes). There will be plenty of seats available at each screening, so feel free to drop by whenever you can!


2017 ReelLIFE SCIENCE Secondary School Winners from Davitt College, Castlebar, Co. Mayo


4. Who is it suitable for?


Everyone! The bitesize videos are suitable for eyeballs of all ages and each year are particularly enjoyed by families who want to sit down for a while and watch some fun science films together. Feel free to bring some snacks!


5. Why is Galway Science and Technology Festival important to you?


2016 ReelLIFE SCIENCE Primary School Winners from Gaelscoil Riabhach, Baile Locha Riach receiving their prize at the Galway Science and Technology Festival


Each year, the Galway Science and Technology Festival is the culmination of the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition, when the filmmakers get to show their videos to the general public on the big screen. The students take great pride in showing off all of their hard work researching, filming and editing their movies, under the guidance of their fantastic teachers and group leaders.


For the ReelLIFE SCIENCE team of volunteers, made up of science students and researchers, the Festival is the highlight of the year’s activity, when we get to share the wonderful videos with the public, but particularly when we get to meet the students and their proud teachers and families from all over the country.


The Festival has provided a fantastic focal point and platform for ReelLIFE SCIENCE for the past five years and we hope to continue our partnership for many years to come.


ReelLIFE SCIENCE is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Community Knowledge Initiative, CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme.


For more information about ReelLIFE SCIENCE log onto their website at and follow them on Twitter (@ReelLifeScience), Facebook and YouTube.


Galway Science and Technology Festival (13th – 26th November) is part of Science Foundation Ireland’s national Science Week 2017 #believeinscience.