Maths Week Ireland is the annual festival promoting positive attitudes towards maths and highlighting the importance of maths in our lives and this week the event received a welcome boast of €299,812 awarded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme.
Maths is important in its own right but also underpins many other disciplines and is essential in modern life. Yet, many struggle with maths in school and in their lives. The festival which takes place each October to coincide with Hamilton day on 16 October has a core ethos of ‘Maths for All’.
Founded and coordinated by SETU’s award winning Calmast STEM Engagement centre in Waterford, Maths Week Ireland quickly became an international leader in maths engagement with over 500,000 participants in 2023. This success is largely due to collaboration as the week long event is a partnership of organisations including all the universities, professional bodies, visitor centres, libraries, companies and education centres who are concerned with mathematics.
The announcement was welcomed by Eoin Gill, co-coordinator of Maths Week Ireland. “This new funding will enable greater inclusion of underserved communities. Working with groups all across the island we will ensure that even more people will benefit by participation in Maths Week. “Climate action will be a central theme in 2023/24 and a key focus will be to build increased awareness of maths in decision-making with debate and dialogue to increase citizen engagement and engage policy makers on evidence-based decision-making.”
Research shows that success is linked with positive attitudes and people with a positive attitude can succeed in learning. The focus of Maths Week events is to create a positive attitude towards maths. Events include shows, workshops, projects and competitions which take place in city streets, prestige venues, partner centres, in-school and online.
The initiative delivers on national education goals and delivers engagement opportunities across the whole island, with in-person, in-school and online events. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Education Norma Foley TD announced the investment of more than €6 million in 40 projects to empower diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Speaking of the programme, 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. 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. Maths Week Ireland takes place from 17 to 22 October in 2023. More information at http://www.mathsweek.ie