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Dundalk Cell Explorers team bringing hands-on science to schools


Payton Mason Kenny and Lily Belle McKeon -Stowe celebrating Cell Explorer

Payton Mason Kenny and Lily Belle McKeon -Stowe celebrating Cell Explorer

Payton Mason Kenny and Lily Belle McKeon -Stowe celebrating Cell Explorer


DKIT lecturers were delighted to join their national colleagues and collaborators in NUIG Galway to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Cell EXPLORERS initiative which brings hands-on science to primary schools all over the country.

The initiative over the years has spread its wings from its initial inception in Galway and has grown to a national network with fifteen partner institutes across Ireland.

The Cell EXPLORERS in DkIT team was one of the first partner institutes to join the network and was established in June 2016. This team is coordinated by Dr. Suzanne Linnane and Dr. Caroline Gilleran Stephens from the Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies at DkIT.

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The Cell EXPLORERS DkIT team is made up of both staff and enthusiastic undergraduate students from Environmental, Agriculture, Bioscience and Pharmaceutical Sciences courses in DkIT. Their students have a passion for communicating their love of science to young children and are excited by the occasion to interact with primary school children and inspire the next generation of Irish scientists. In 2019, the programme received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Communication award by Science Foundation Ireland.

Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Prof. Philip Nolan said: “Thank you for making a real difference to our society and the growth of the research community in Ireland.”

“By acting as authentic role models and sharing your excitement in research and innovation, you are helping to engage our young people, so that they maintain an interest in science and consider pursuing a career in research.”

Dr Caroline Gilleran said: “The students and I absolutely love being part of the Cell EXPLORERS initiative. It’s an amazing and fun opportunity to be able to bring science to primary school classrooms and to see how excited young children can be about science.”

Last year, despite the challenges of a global pandemic the DkIT Cell Explorers team were able to provide 22 boxes to 13 schools in Louth, Cavan and Meath, which gave 670 children the opportunity to extract DNA from bananas and to gain a glimpse into the life of a molecular biologist.