HomeEngagementSupporting the next generation of scientists

Supporting the next generation of scientists

We aim to encourage young people at all stages to be curious about the brain, about science and a career in STEM. Have a look at some of our programmes:

For Early-Year Students

Cell Explorers – Fantastic DNA (on-going)

Organised by our early-career research team, Fantastic DNA is a classroom-based workshop for 10-12 year olds designed to build science curiosity in a fun and engaging way. The children practice extracting DNA from a banana and also get to meet a scientist – often for the first time. For our researchers, it’s a valuable experience to develop skills in explaining difficult scientific terms to a young audience. 

Since 2019, our Cell Explorers team has delivered Fantastic DNA workshops to over 400 primary school children. From 2024, our programme is expanding to incorporate age-appropriate brain health tips.

A female scientist wearing a purple t-shirt conducting an experiment in a classroom. She is holding a test tube and is examining a substance from it.

A group of FutureNeuro researchers standing outside a school building. Some of them are holding boxes labeled "Fantastic DNA in a Box"

For Secondary Students

Transition Year Programmes (on-going)

We work closely with our host academic institutes to provide neuroscience modules for annual TY events. 

Girls in STEM (on-going)

Led by FutureNeuro Investigator, Assoc. Prof. Catherine Mooney, CS Sparks engage with girls in Transition Year from various schools in South Dublin, including three DEIS schools. Held at the School of Computer Science in UCD, the program offers a dynamic and enjoyable coding experience, showcasing Computer Science as a versatile career path with wide-ranging applications and significant societal benefits. Our goal is to inspire participants to explore Computer Science at third level, unlocking a world of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities. Catherine also leads the You can be what you can see video series designed to encourage girls to consider careers in physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering.

SciFest (2022)

As part of National Science Week, our researchers partnered with three diverse schools identified through SciFest. These included an all-girl city school, a rural Midlands school, and a West of Ireland school. Collaborating closely with teachers and students, we created brain health initiatives, targeting traditionally underrepresented groups and school communities. Our researchers spoke about different career paths into research and our Brain Matters awards attracted excellent brain health awareness projects from reducing mental stress in study, exercise and brain health, to living better with Parkinson’s disease.

Drumshanbo VS participants in the FutureNeuro Brain Matters exhibition.

For Under-graduate Students: (annual)

Summer Internships: Each year, we offer several fully-funded 8-week summer internships tailored to 2nd to 4th year students. These internships offer an invaluable opportunity to explore the different aspects of neuroscience and the potential career paths in this dynamic field. We were delighted to see Dr Jack Banks, a summer student from 2018, complete his PhD with FutureNeuro in 2022.

A group photo including the 2018 FutureNeuro Centre summer students.

FutureNeuro Summer school students Sarah Greene, Jack Banks and Sorcha Lynch present posters on their research.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact our Public Engagement Lead, Dr Lyndsey Butterworth. Email LyndseyButterworth@rcsi.ie