This year Abbott is marking the tenth year of supporting SciFest, which aims to encourage a love of science, technology and maths. This is done through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning and also provides a forum for students at local, regional and national level to present and display their scientific investigations. Throughout the months of April and May second level students from across Ireland presented their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects at 16 regional SciFest@College events. SciFest also provides an excellent platform opportunity to make students more aware of the wide variety of careers available with a STEM qualification, including opportunities at Abbott. Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry-education programme provides second-level school students in Ireland with information about STEM, delivers free talks for students at Scifest, to help inspire them further.
Speaking about the partnership, Abbott CSR Manager Sinéad Hickey said, “Abbott supports a diverse range of community projects, with emphasis on promoting science education at primary and secondary schools. By inspiring young people today, we aim to help develop a pipeline of innovators who will create the sustainable and successful industry of tomorrow. This year Abbott volunteers across all nine sites in Ireland attended these regional competitions as judges and award presenters.”
“The students’ interest in science and desire to discover and question was highly commendable. The amount work and effort put into the projects by both students and their teachers was truly admirable.”
“The input of companies like Abbott cannot be underestimated,” said Sheila Porter, CEO of SciFest. “The aim of SciFest is to inspire students to develop a passion for STEM, thereby helping to ensure that we have a continuous uptake of the various STEM disciplines at third level. Supporting the youth of today to reach their STEM potential is an exciting space to be in. Our ambition is that through this work we are helping companies such as Abbott to hire top talent across the STEM spectrum. We are delighted to have had this partnership with Abbott since our launch nationwide in 2008, and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”
In 2017, Abbott and SciFest extended their relationship by partnering with the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID) to develop a SciFest@TCPID programme. Over the course of six weeks, five students from the centre and a team of Abbott mentors worked one-on-one with each other to develop their own individual science projects. This programme included idea generation, assisting in background research and conducting experiments with the students. Abbott mentors gained valuable and meaningful volunteering experience and the students developed a new range of skills, gained confidence and built a network of contacts. The students proudly presented their projects in front of a packed crowd in the Science Gallery in Dublin on May 31st.