'Robots running farms' - Waterford events to focus on future of farming

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly



'Robots running farms' - Waterford events to focus on future of farming

'Robots running farms' - Waterford events to focus on future of farming

Smart agriculture, progressive approaches to tackle climate change and many recent advances in science will be showcased at this year’s South-East Science Festival, the regional celebration of National Science Week.

The festival has been a great success in the past and thanks to the support of county councils, libraries, local industry and partner organisations, once again more than 100 events will place in Tramore, Dungarvan, Lismore, Kilkenny, Graiguenamanagh, New Ross, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel and several venues in Waterford.

The full programme is available on www.calmast.ie and the public programme can also be accessed on facebook: @CalmastSTEMHub.

The festival is coordinated by Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM Engagement centre with support from SFI, Waterford Council, Kilkenny Council, GSK, MSD, Bausch & Lomb, Sanofi and EirGen Pharma.

Starting on Wednesday, November 6 and running for 12 days, more than 100 events will take place in counties Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Cordula Weiss, Manager Calmast, says: “There is something for everyone: activities for schools, afternoon shows for families and evening events for the general public: the festival aims at inspiring young and old to engage with science and technology, inspire and develop curiosity while also showcasing the opportunities in the region such as the many possibilities that WIT and local companies offers to those considering a career in science.”

Local, national and international high profile researchers, science communicators and performers will present shows, talks and workshops at WIT and at schools, libraries, theatres and pubs across the South-East. The full programme is available on www.calmast.ie

“This year’s programme includes a large variety of events – from bubble shows for the younger ones to talks about climate change, the importance of trees and the advances in smart agriculture,” says Cordula Weiss. “Science really is for all, there is no age limit in either direction and we are delighted to invite everyone to a weekend full of fun and science at the Theatre Royal and at the Lismore Heritage Centre.”

In the vestibule of the Theatre Royal and also in Waterford City Hall families can get their hands on colourful science experiments on Saturday, November 9 from 12pm before visiting one of three fabulous shows at the Theatre: the London Science Museum presents the ever-popular ‘Bubble Show’ and ‘Glorious Blood’ while James Soper, Guinness world record holder and science presenter, explains about the science of sport in ‘Bending it like Beckham’.

On Sunday, November 10, Calmast, the London Science Museum and James Soper will be at the Lismore Heritage Centre from 2pm where many hands-on activities and shows will inspire families to bring science into their own home – or their own garden: supported by Science Foundation Ireland, tree saplings will be given away to good homes to all interested.

“With the challenges we’re facing at the moment in terms of environmental pollution and climate change, more and more people become aware of the role science and scientific progress play in this,” says Cordula Weiss. “Yet very often we still take science and technology for granted without reflecting on how impressive recent scientific advances are and the immediate impact they have on our lives.

"Take dairy farming, for example, the basis for many products, which is more and more relying on smart solutions. Smart agriculture, plantation forests and climate change and other highly relevant areas will be addressed at this year’s South-East Science Festival.”

Dr Nick McCarthy, Lecturer in Forestry at WIT, will speak about ‘A tree is a tree is a tree…Plantation forests and climate change’ on Thursday, November 7 at 7pm in Tully’s Bar. With the support of Science Foundation Ireland a number of saplings will be given away on that occasion to be planted in homes and gardens in the South-East.

On Thursday, November 14 at 7pm, Dr Sasi Balasubramaniam, Director of Research VistaMilk, will present recent advances and future technologies in dairy production.

During the week, events for the public and families with children of all ages will take place at WIT and in libraries in Waterford and Carrick-on-Suir in the evenings while schools were invited to participate in shows, talks and workshops in the morning.