You are here: Home News Waterford to be designated a European City of Scientific Culture

Waterford to be designated a European City of Scientific Culture

Waterford has secured EU funding to develop as a European City of Scientific Culture, a move that will strengthen the location’s appeal to inward investors and recognise existing scientific research and communications activity.



Promoted  as a four-year European project called PLACES, the European City of Scientific Culture programme is a partnership between Ecsite - the European Network of Science Centres and Museums; the European Science Events Association (EUSCEA) and European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN).

To win the designation, CALMAST, the award-winning science outreach centre at Waterford Institute of Technology is partnering with the local authorities in Waterford city and county. The overall scheme at European level is funded through the European Union Framework 7 (FP7) Science in Society programme.

Dr Sheila Donegan of the Centre for the Advancement of Learning of Maths, Science & Technology (CALMAST) at Waterford Institute of Technology is driving the Waterford bid and said it provides a huge promotional platform for the city and county along with the wider southeast region. “The programme at European level is all about how we stitch science into culture more widely and the branding that has been developed will see Waterford become a European City of Scientific Culture which would be an excellent calling card in a whole range of contexts from competitive research funding bids to attracting foreign direct investment and attracting and retaining the very best of scientific talent.

“With over 10,000 people each year in Waterford taking part in the science outreach activities delivered by CALMAST, we already have the highest rate of public participation in science of any location in Ireland – giving us a great head start in this designation process.”

Eoin Gill of CALMAST added: “How we communicate about science is in focus across the EU at present and there is a commitment to rolling out best practice. As a European City of Scientific Culture, Waterford would commit to incorporating science and technology into the lives of citizens and the work of local and regional government. The designation would also allow us connect more solidly with other city regions and agencies working on scientific culture.”

Backing the Waterford bid, Cllr John Halligan, Mayor of Waterford, said: “This is a huge opportunity for Waterford to win a real competitive advantage over some of the city regions we compete with for inward investment. There has already been a great body of work done by CALMAST and their partners in promoting mathematics, science and technology across this region and nationally. This designation will provide a great basis for taking that work to the next level.”

Cllr Nora Flynn, Waterford County Mayor, added: “Waterford city and county as well as the southeast of Ireland will gain a great deal from this designation. Waterford County Council fully supports the project and acknowledges the initiative shown by CALMAST and the Institute of Technology in mounting the drive to see Waterford become a European City of Scientific Culture. This can significantly strengthen the Waterford brand on the national and international stage.”

Prof Kieran R Byrne, President, Waterford Institute of Technology, said: “Waterford has a proud tradition of scientific endeavour going back to exceptional thought leaders such as Lismore’s Robert Boyle and Dungarvan’s Ernest Walton who were both recently voted among the top three Irish scientists of all time in a science.ie poll. 

“The prospect of being designated as a European City of Scientific Culture is very exciting for Waterford and the southeast as we look to build a future of sustainable socio-economic growth and development. How we grasp the challenges and opportunities presented by science, technology and innovation will determine in large part how this country and region fare in the 21st Century. Given this, designation of Waterford as a European City of Scientific Culture would be an excellent next step.”