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CRAFT Maker Space at MIC secures allmost €200,000 in funding



The CRAFT Maker Space, housed in the recently renovated Newman Hall, MIC is the first of its kind in the mid-west region of Ireland. Minister Norma Foley (left) pictured with Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Patricia O’Sullivan, Maeve Liston and Dr Eleanor Walsh from the CRAFT Maker Space, pictured at the launch of the CRAFT Maker Space in March 2023. Pic. Brian Arthur

CRAFT Maker Space at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has secured €193,532 as one of 38 projects in the SFI Discover Programme

CRAFT Maker Space at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has secured €193,532 as one of 38 projects in the SFI Discover Programme
CRAFT Maker Space at MIC is one of 38 in the SFI Discover Programme

The CRAFT Maker Space at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has secured €193,532 as one of 38 projects in the SFI Discover Programme, which aims to create greater public awareness of the impact of STEM on society and everyday life, generate opportunities for dialogue and encouraging diversity in STEM-related disciplines.  

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, and Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, announced the €5 million investment on 28 February.

This project will embed and grow the CRAFT (Creative Arts/Future Technologies) Maker Space engagement centre—based on the John Henry New Campus at MIC Limerick—to be a leading hub in the mid-west for STEM and STEAM educational activities, workshops, collaborations and research. The ultimate aim of the initiative is to demystify STEAM and to catalyse engagement with STEAM for children, teachers, preservice teachers, early childhood carers, families, youths, adults and the general public.




Dr Eleanor Walsh, Acting Director of Enterprise & Community Engagement at MIC, said: “Today’s announcement of funding by SFI and the Department of Education will allow us to realise our ambitious plans for even greater engagement with schools, teachers, children, families and the wider public to demystify STEM and build related competencies and skills through fun, informed and accessible, integrated STE(A)M activities and workshops.”

“Along with SFI and DE, MIC wants to promote an awareness and understanding of the value of STE(A)M to society and for the future economy of Ireland, so we are thrilled to be working in partnership with them towards that common goal, and putting Limerick in the centre of that work.”

Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, commented: “Congratulations to all at CRAFT on its funding award as part of the SFI Discover Programme. A key goal of MIC’s current Strategic Plan was to establish a dynamic interactive public ‘maker space’ for STEM education and creative arts in the form of CRAFT. The project was further enhanced with the addition of state-of-the-art facilities at Newman Hall on the MIC Limerick Campus.”

“As well as its on-campus workshops and events, its outreach work extends into classrooms, after-school settings and public spaces across the mid-west. MIC strives to be at the forefront of advances in school curricula, and the value of the skills and innovative thinking required to excel in STEM disciplines cannot be underestimated. We are looking forward to seeing CRAFT develop and grow over the coming years.”

Typical onsite activities at CRAFT include hands-on workshops (created with educational and industry experts) on diverse topics like construction challenges, coding, electrical circuitry, robotics, Lego, 3D printing, laser cutting and design thinking projects amongst others. It supports national themed weeks such as the upcoming Engineers Week (2-8 March). Off-site activities will be in schools, afterschool clubs, theatres, libraries and public venues, and some through mail and online. CPD workshops for teachers will also take place.

CRAFT is one the projects co-funded by the Department of Education and in relation to these, Minister Foley said that “STEM subjects encourage learners’ innate curiosity about how the world works, and I’m confident that support of these 38 initiatives will inspire the students involved to continue their studies in this area”.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, emphasised: “This programme is a key part of our education and public engagement strategy. Increasing engagement among less represented voices in STEM is vital to providing the diverse talent needed to take on societal challenges and to shape our future in Ireland. SFI are passionate about removing barriers to participation in STEM and providing learners with opportunities to engage.”

More about CRAFT Maker Space
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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.