About Cell EXPLORERS
A little bit about us and what we do...
Cell EXPLORERS is a science education and public engagement programme based in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences in the University of Galway in Ireland. We work on a unique model where volunteers and student projects combine to allow sustainable outreach.
Cell EXPLORERS aim and model
Our aim is inform, inspire and involve the general public in science. We primarily achieve this by facilitating authentic interactions between young people (and sometimes their families) and trained scientist explainers. Young people are provided the opportunity to participate in authentic hands-on science activities, and get to know a person in a science-related role. The majority of our activities are designed for 8-12 years old, as this is when research has indicated that young people begin to make decisions concerning their science identity and future science-related aspirations.
Our specific model of public engagement in science is disseminated by 13 Cell EXPLORERS teams based in 10 institutions across Ireland. Each team comprises a volunteering team of staff and/or students (undergraduate and postgraduate). Teams are coordinated locally by 1-2 staff/postgraduate student coordinator(s). You can find out more by visiting the Partner Teams page. The network is coordinated on a national level of the national coordination team, based in the University of Galway.
A little about our activities
Activities are delivered online (since 2020), and in-person at schools, science festivals, youth groups and other community spaces. Fantastic DNA and Fantastic DNA in a Box (online) are our most widely disseminated activities. Recently, we have refocused our efforts to widen participation in science for young people - leading to the start of our GROWS project - Giving Real Opportunities to Widen participation in Science. This includes our CE Escape Room and Science Club. Activities delivered to schools, youth groups and community spaces are free of charge for participants. Read more about our activities by visiting the Activities page or see our latest activities report here.
Our systematic evaluation of activities, and research associated with our informal science education research group, has demonstrated that participation in our activities can contribute towards building young peoples' science capital, broaden perceptions of scientists, and build science confidence. Moreover, our facilitators gain science communication skills and experience, and gain transferable graduate attributes that can help them gain future employment.
A note on our funders
The development of the Cell EXPLORERS national network and the delivery of its activity is currently funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover award. Each team is locally supported in kind by its host institution. The GROWS project is funded by the Medtronic Foundation. You can learn more about our funders and the partner schools, organisations and institutions we work with on our Friends of Cell EXPLORERS page.
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