NEW RESEARCH SHOWS 82% OF PEOPLE WOULD LIKE MORE FOCUS ON SCIENCE AT PRIMARY SCHOOL
Pfizer and Science Gallery launch We Are All Scientists Exhibition for Science Week
Dublin, 5th November: Pfizer in partnership with Science Gallery has today launched We Are All Scientists, an initiative which encourages people to discover their inner scientist. Officially launched this morning, the initiative aims to highlight the challenges involved in scientific research and discovery. The interactive Exhibition will be housed in the CHQ Building during Science Week, 10th - 17th November. The free exhibition, suitable for all ages, invites visitors to engage in five creative experiments to see if they possess the key characteristics of a scientist - curiosity, creativity, clarity, discernment and resilience.
New research from the Pfizer Health and Science Index revealed:
- 82% would like to see more of a focus on science in primary school;
- An overwhelming majority (92%) of parents surveyed either have or would encourage their children to study science or computer science;
- The number of students graduating from a third level STEM course in Ireland remains low with only 35% of 18-24 year olds studying STEM courses at third level; although this is an increase on older generations where only 14% of over 65s and only 16% of 50-64 year olds studied science at third level;
- Of the 39% of those who studied science for Leaving Certificate; 68% choose biology; 30% studied chemistry; 33% physics and 6% studied computer science;
- 50% of people think that getting the required Leaving Certificate points to study STEM at third level would be very difficult.
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) Employment
- 12% of people claim to work in a STEM related profession with an evident gender gap; this rises to 18% for men and falls to 6% for women
- 64% feel that studying STEM affords a better chance of getting a job, rising to 85% for those aged under 25;
- 34% (1 in 3) feel there are more STEM opportunities in Ireland than elsewhere;
- The most appealing attributes of working in a STEM profession are interesting work (73%); chance to make a difference (68%); strong compensation (48%) and chance to work in a multinational company (35%).
Understanding of STEM & Scientific Discovery
- When people were asked what words they associate with science, medicine is ranked first (66%) followed by curiosity (60%), fascinating (57%); health (55%); and maths (52%)
- 80% of people surveyed think scientific advancement fosters a better society
- 38% of people think it takes less than five years to develop a medicine; 12% of respondents were correct indicating that it takes 10-15 years to develop a medicine
It’s hoped that the We Are All Scientists initiative can challenge people to think differently about science by helping to bridge the gap between the overwhelmingly positive associations with science, and the self-doubt expressed at having what it takes to study science at third level.
Welcoming this morning’s launch, Minister for Training, Skills, Research and Innovation, John Halligan TD said; “We Are All Scientists aims to inspire everyone to consider how they can play a part in scientific discovery and innovation. It’s important that we look to the future and encourage this generation to not only engage with science in school, but to consider pursuing a career in STEM to better enhance our capability on the global stage. This year’s CAO results were very encouraging with more students than ever choosing STEM courses, but the numbers of students graduating in third level courses is still lower than our ambition. Ireland is uniquely positioned with many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and ICT companies based in Ireland. These companies are at the cutting edge of scientific advancement and discovery and they provide excellent career opportunities.”
Also unveiled at the launch today was an exclusive first look at the We Are All Scientists interactive pop up exhibition which will be housed in the CHQ Building during Science Week, 10th - 17th November. The free exhibition, suitable for all ages, invites visitors to engage in five creative experiments to see if they possess the key characteristics of a scientist. The characteristics, as curated by Pfizer scientists and Science Gallery as part of the exhibition development, are; curiosity, creativity, clarity, discernment and resilience.
Paul Reid, Managing Director of Pfizer (Ireland) said; “At Pfizer, science is at the centre of everything we do and we employ thousands of scientists globally, some of these are based in Ireland. The story of bringing a medicine to life is one of innovation, imagination, and perseverance in the face of obstacles both expected and unforeseen. It takes over 10 years of research starting in the laboratory and including clinical trials before a molecule becomes a medicine and only 1 in 10,000 molecules ever becomes a medicine. This is a high-risk costly endeavour and we invest $7-8 billion annually in drug discovery. Pfizer is working to pioneer gene therapy breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. We hope to unlock the promise of gene therapy for patients worldwide living with rare genetic diseases.”
Dr Andrea Bandelli, Executive Director of Science Gallery International, said; “We look forward to officially unveiling the We Are All Scientists pop up exhibition with Pfizer during Science Week. To help us make science as accessible as possible during this important week, we are taking this ambitious exhibition out of Science Gallery for the first time. We’re hoping that the experiments spark enthusiasm in people to help them explore their inner scientist, inviting them to see the world around them through a new lens. We’ve also made every effort to ensure that the exhibition is green, constructing it of modular equipment, making it fully reusable in future projects. If you’re in the area during Science week, stop by and put your scientific skills to the test.”
Commenting on the research, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, said; “The high number of parents (92%) expressing interest in their children studying science is very encouraging and reflects the positivity surrounding science that we see on the ground. Having greater numbers of students with positive early experiences of science and all levels of science education will position Ireland as a world leader in research and development, attracting foreign businesses and stimulating the economy. We will have a workforce that is well positioned to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow. Science Week, our annual national celebration of science, technology and engineering, kicks off this Sunday (Nov 10). If offers the perfect opportunity to learn about the marvels of our world in an accessible way, and the We Are All Scientists exhibition is a really exciting addition to the Science Week line up.”
The We Are All Scientists Pfizer and Science Gallery exhibition in the CHQ Building will be open to the public during Science Week, 10th - 17th November 2019, 10:00 – 17:00 and is free of charge. Visit https://dublin.sciencegallery.com/WAAS .
Published: 6th November 2019.