Irish presidential candidates: science vision (part 1)

The Irish presidential election is in under seven weeks so it’s time to start thinking about the views and priorities of the candidates. In a Science Calling exclusive, I asked each of the four main prospective candidates two questions about their vision of the role of science in Ireland in the next decade.  With thousands of people employed in science jobs and science courses increasing in popularity, a clear vision for the future is critical. Seán Gallagher and Gay Mitchell are featured in part one of this two-part series. Next week Mary Davis and Michael D. Higgins will be in the spotlight.

Seán Gallagher

What is your vision for the role of science in Ireland in the next decade?

I am confident that science will form the basis of the growth of so many essential industries and sectors in Ireland in the next decade which will fuel the economy and create jobs. Our areas of real growth in pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacture, technology and IT all have the science at their roots. It is essential that science education and communication is invested in and encouraged. Enterprise and innovation are reliant on science. The continued pioneering work in the evolution of science technologies and sustained research initiatives are imperative in the progression of sustainable environmental technologies and medical research.

What will your presidency do to enable this?

As President I would like to highlight and celebrate what works. It is essential that interest in science is encouraged and competitions such as the Young Scientist play a huge role in creating a commitment and confidence at a young age. As a country we excel at science and technology. Building strategic business and education networks for the future through foreign trade-missions and State visits will provide the next President the opportunity to highlight Ireland, not just as a location for doing business but also for investing in research and development. As an entrepreneur I participated in Foreign Trade missions and saw the real potential for Irish businesses and institutions and if elected I would want to maximise that.

♦ Gay Mitchell

What is your vision for the role of science in Ireland in the next decade?

Science is in my view crucial to the economic regeneration of Ireland. Our foreign and direct investment strategy has targeted many international firms whose focus is primary on turning scientific discovery into marketable products, creating thousands of jobs in Ireland. Our education system needs to ensure young people have a love for, and knowledge of, science. We must also highlight our skills base internationally to bring more firms and more investment to Ireland.

What will your presidency do to enable this?

The presidency opens doors through international visits and conferences – enabling key contacts to be formed internationally. I will use international visits to stress that Ireland is open for science-based investment, and has an educated scientifically-skilled population available for work. I will include the promotion of Ireland’s interest in, and links to, scientific development and investment in all state visits, ensuring that key policy makers in governments and businesses are contacted and brought together for at least one event during a state visit where possible. On my journeys around Ireland visiting schools, colleges and communities I will also stress to young people how important it is that they take scientific courses, and follow a science career.

Irish presidential candidates: science vision (part 2) →

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