Friday, October 30, 2009

Upcoming science tv and new media festival

I'm looking forward to heading over to London on a red eye flight early on Monday morning (2 November 2009) to be on the jury for this year's EuroPAWS science tv & new media festival. The panel discussions look particularly interesting, and here's some background info on the event:
The Environment in European TV and New Media Festival 2009
2 November, 2009
The Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London W1

Screenings of TV Documentaries and Drama from across Europe, with panel led discussions geared to a teenage audience, but open to all.

Programmes are featured in the following categories:

Environmental science and technology in:

  • TV Documentaries and Drama
  • TV General Programming (i.e. magazines, politics shows, natural world etc) - an item in context or a complete programme
  • New Media Productions (including WEB, iPOD, Promotional Video etc)
The follow up Awards Ceremony will be happening soon too:
The Environment in TV and New Media Awards Evening 2009
On the theme:


Monday 23 November
at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Savoy Place, London WC2

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Minister puts emphasis on "promoting science"

I'm just back from an SFI event announcing funding for "early career researchers" - it's great to see postdocs getting support so that they can start putting together their own independent research groups.

The comments by Minister Conor Lenihan were really interesting too - especially his emphasis on the importance of promoting science to "parents, citizens and taxpayers". He really put it up to all the people who'd just been awarded funding that they had to go out and "campaign" for science to encourage young people to study it - and for taxpayers to fund it.

Frank Gannon also made some very interesting points - and elaborated on his recent blog entry about the thought-provoking parallels between Irish science and Irish soccer.

For the background on today's announcement, here's an extract from the official press release:

“It is vital that we have in Ireland the mechanism to keep and attract to Ireland highly skilled, early-stage career researchers,” Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D., said today (Tuesday, October 20th, 2009) as he announced Government funding of €7.9million under a new Science Foundation Ireland initiative that will help 15 highly-talented researchers at an early stage in their profession to progress towards a fully independent academic research career.

Announcing the first SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) awards, Minister Lenihan said “These 15 outstanding individuals are among the brightest working in Irish laboratories today, and SIRG provides them with the necessary support to enable the transition from team member to independent and accomplished innovator in their respective fields. It will also allow them to recruit 15 postgraduate students”.


The 15 award recipients are based in the following seven Higher Education Institutions:

Tyndall National Institute, Cork (4 awards); Trinity College Dublin (4 awards); NUI Galway (3 awards); Dublin Institute of Technology (1 award); University College Cork (1 award); University College Dublin (1 award); and Waterford Institute of Technology (1 award).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Looking for Science in Society FP7 partners?

I really enjoyed the Science in Society FP7 brokerage event in Dublin yesterday (October 7, 2009) and it was great to hear the Irish success stories from previous calls.

Here at Agtel, we're delighted that media groups like ourselves feature so prominently among the types of organisations that are recommended for projects. We've a very strong track record in pan-European science communication and eLearning and we're very interested in teaming up with other partners and working on a project together.

If you're working on a proposal for the Science in Society FP7 work programme why not get in touch? The best way to contact me is by e-mail at

And by way of background information here are some notes from my short presentation yesterday...

  • European Space Agency DVDs – Four-part series of educational science DVDs

  • Discover Science & Engineering –Awareness-raising media initiatives & Filming

  • Your Science Your Say –With Dublin City University, looking at ethical issues of nanotechnology

  • Plus audio-visual projects for the European Parliament, European Commission etc...

  • Science Communication
  • eLearning
  • TV programmes
  • Digital / Web
  • Video
  • Films

  • 1.0-1 Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Actions
  • 2.2.1-1 Teacher training on inquiry based teaching methods on a large scale in Europe
  • 2.2.2-1 Reinforcing links between science education and S&T careers in the private sector through reinforcing the partnership industry/education
  • 3.0.3-1 Science and the Arts: an experimental approach

  • eLearning with international video case studies

  • Teacher training and reaching parents with motivational video content

  • Career showcasing using filmed scenes and engaging stories

  • Interactive video narratives that unfold in real time in real places

If you're interested in having a chat about any of these ideas and/or your own projects just e-mail me at

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Let's all go to Australia!

It's raining in Dublin this morning and so every Irish person's thoughts are naturally turning to emigrating to Australia... And the good news is there's a science communication conference you can go to there too - granted it's in December but still... at least the sun will be shining!

The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (WCSFP) will hold its 17th annual conference December 1-4, 2009, at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. The most interesting thing for me about this conference is that they'll have plenty of discussion with some of the key protagonists behind the controversial documentary "The Link – Uncovering our Earliest Ancestor". Here's the preview from the website:


Just announced for the 2009 Congress in Melbourne, delegates will meet the team behind this year's blockbuster, The Link – Uncovering our Earliest Ancestor. When the world was first introduced to IDA the fossil this past May the headlines screamed "extraordinary find is missing link in human evolution."

Following the news conference was the book, the website, the television program and then – controversially – the scientific paper. No documentary in history had such pre-launch publicity, and the phenomenal ratings on History Channel, BBC and ZDF reflected that impact. Nor has any documentary so blatantly preempted the accepted system of peer review in such science journals as Nature.

The man who masterminded the deal, CEO of Atlantic Productions and producer of the documentary Anthony Geffen, as well as the key scientists and broadcasters, will appear in Melbourne. The team will take delegates through all stages of the production, executed over two years under a tight blanket of secrecy, and will confront the critics who questioned whether the whole process was an incredible coup or incredible hype.

Well worth the trip I think! Especially if it keeps raining here in Dublin...