Study reveals 83% of girls fear gender inequality in science and tech careers

Posted in Life on October 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A lack of subject choices in school is a clear barrier to pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and maths, according to four in five (78%) of girls surveyed. And a remarkable 83% of Irish teenage girls also warned there is a widespread perception of a lack of gender equality in the STEM careers area …” (more)

[Ralph Riegel, Independent, 8 October]

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Why science needs a new reward and recognition system

Posted in Research on July 16th, 2021 by steve

“The chance of ‘success’ in an academic science career, which has historically been defined as obtaining a permanent position, is low. Because of this, early-career researchers, including PhD students, postdocs and junior faculty members, are vulnerable to extra stresses. From June to October 2020, we surveyed 151 such researchers in different fields and from multiple countries in Europe to better understand how they were affected by pandemic-related lockdowns and associated relief efforts …” (more)

[Edyta Swider-Cios, Katalin Solymosi and Mangala Srinivas, Nature, 15 July]

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Creating Our Future – Minister Harris announces a national conversation on research and science

Posted in Research on June 2nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today (Tuesday, 1st June 2021) announced plans for a national conversation on research and science. Creating our Future aims to build on the success of research and science in our battle against COVID-19, and ask the public how we can shape a better Ireland research …” (more)

[, 1 June]

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Education Policy – The Sciences, Innovation and Research

Posted in Governance and administration on May 24th, 2021 by steve

IrelandBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the additional provisions being made to ensure an adequate supply of graduates with appropriate qualifications in the sciences, innovation and research with particular reference to the need to enhance Ireland’s capabilities in these areas and to fill the posts currently required and likely to be required in the future given international progress in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 20 May]

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Science Graduates

Posted in Governance and administration on February 6th, 2021 by steve

IrelandBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the degree to which he expects science to play an increased role in the higher education sector with particular reference to ensuring an adequate number of graduates to meet the demands of the workplace; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 4 February]

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Prioritising science education

Posted in Teaching on January 22nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – According to the 2019 annual report of Science Foundation Ireland, €5 million was spent on 47 Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education projects, and €189 million was spent on scientific research. However, not one euro was invested in research that would seek to support how science is taught and learned throughout primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Ireland …” (more)

[Aishling Flaherty, Irish Times, 22 January]

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Why we need to teach about the culture of science

Posted in Teaching on December 30th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Following the Covid pandemic on Twitter is a maddening experience and I, for my sanity, have been weaning myself off engaging with numerous Covid deniers who, despite their claims to be ‘scientific’, are anything but. Coincidentally, I’ve been reading Stuart Richie’s excellent book, Science Fictions, a book about bias and malpractice in science that should be required reading for all undergraduates. I don’t think students really understand the underlying culture of science and they need to do so …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 30 December]

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Science and research

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on July 3rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In response to the letter by Daniel Carey (July 1st), which suggests changing the name of the new Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science to the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Research …” (more)

[Kevin Nolan, Irish Times, 3 July]


Science and research

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on July 1st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The creation of a new department is to be welcomed, but the name – Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science – is problematic and potentially divisive …” (more)

[Daniel Carey, Irish Times, 1 July]

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Science and the humanities in the time of pandemic: better together

Posted in Research on June 1st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In most of the world, expertise is making a comeback. We are placing our faith in healthcare professionals such as Dr Tony Holohan and Prof Philip Nolan to lead us through the current pandemic. In the US, where the ascent of experts is on shakier ground, Dr Anthony Fauci is the target of both immoderate adulation and inexplicable death threats …” (more)

[Kathryn Conrad, Cóilín Parsons, and Julie McCormick Weng, Irish Times, 1 June]

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We need clarity on Leaving Cert science

Posted in Teaching on January 28th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I would like to write to support Prof Ainé Hyland’s concerns about the proposed revision of the Leaving Certificate (Letters, January 21st). I have been an active observer and supporter of science teaching in Irish schools since 1978, in particular the teaching of chemistry. The proposed minimalist specifications for the Leaving Certificate science subjects leave much to be desired as satisfactory and workable curriculum documents …” (more)

[Peter Childs, Irish Times, 28 January]

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How can we attract more girls into Stem?

Posted in Governance and administration on January 2nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Concerns over attracting girls into Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects have been voiced over many years. The vastness and sometimes intangible nature of Stem can act as a deterrent to some who lack a direct connection to the field …” (more)

[Judith Harford, Irish Times, 2 January]

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Research funders need to embrace slow science

Posted in Research on January 1st, 2020 by steve

“Uta Frith courted controversy earlier this year when she published an opinion piece in which she advocated for Slow Science, including the radical suggestion that researchers should be limited in the number of papers they publish each year. This idea has been mooted before, but has never taken root …” (more)

[BishopBlog, 1 January]

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Is doing science experiments ‘constructivist’?

Posted in Teaching on December 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Reading this article this morning made me more confused that ever as to what people mean when they talk about constructivism. I had more or less settled on the idea that constructivism meant viewing newly acquired knowledge as a jigsaw piece rather than a file in a filing cabinet but in the said article, constructivism is defined as an ‘educational philosophy that deems experience as the best way to acquire knowledge’. That’s not really telling me much …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 14 December]


Why are our PISA science scores declining?

Posted in Teaching on December 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“One of the more interesting aspects of the media coverage of the 2018 PISA results is that there was little or no coverage of the fact that our science scores declined for the second time in a row. Whereas, our score was 522 in 2016, it’s now 496. Given the hype around STEM and the huge amount of time and resources devoted to getting students to ‘engage’ with STEM, that does seem a little ironic. Or perhaps it’s not …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 9 December]

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Most secondary school girls face ‘confidence gap’ over science, technology and maths

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Many secondary school girls face an ‘information and confidence gap’ over so-called Stem subjects such as science, technology, engineering and maths, according to a new survey. Some 64% of girls say they don’t know enough about Stem, while 26% of students say here are easier ways of getting CAO points than choosing to study Stem …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 12 September]

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Teachers say junior-cycle science curriculum being ‘dumbed down’

Posted in Teaching on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Science teachers say a new science curriculum for pupils completing the junior cycle amounts to a ‘dumbing down’ of the subject. The finding is contained in a report by the Irish Science Teachers’ Association based on a survey of more than 700 teachers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 3 June]

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The Great Science Publishing Scandal

Posted in Research on May 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“There was a programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 yesterday called The Great Science Publishing Scandal. It is now available on the interwebs here, which is how I listened to it this morning …” (more)

[In the Dark, 1 May]

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Thoughts on Motivation

Posted in Research on April 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“When I was a youngster I devoured popular science books. I watched the BBC science programme, Horizon, religiously, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was the highlight of the TV week for me. I was a bit of nerd. But as worked my through the education system and tried to find a happy medium between fascination and employability, I ended up studying chemical engineering …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 29 April]

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Women in science

Posted in Research on March 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – Dick Ahlstrom’s informative and interesting article on Ireland’s scientists finishes with the exhortation to ‘… have a few more more names for the next table quiz’ (‘Ireland’s stellar contributions go under the radar’, Science Analysis, March 7th). I suggest, on this International Women’s Day, that we also remember Ireland’s female scientists …” (more)

[Bróna Ní Mhuirí, Irish Times, 8 March]

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