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Minister Heydon marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Marking the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Research and Development, Martin Heydon, T.D, highlighted the importance of equal access and participation of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Minister Heydon marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In welcoming this year’s theme – ‘Bringing everyone forward for sustainable and equitable development’, Minister Heydon said: “Securing women’s engagement in science, policy, and decision making is essential to securing a truly equal, well-functioning and democratic society both in Ireland and abroad’’.

Speaking on women’s involvement in science, technology and innovation, Minister Heydon highlighted: “In 2022, my Department awarded funding of approximately €20 million across 40 research projects.  Thirty-eight percent of the projects are being led by a female researcher. There was a notably high success rate for the Irish funded female partners on international projects part-funded by this Department, with a woman acting as a lead partner on 10 of the 15 projects, accounting for over 70% of the funding”.

Dr. Dominika Krol, a Senior Research Officer in Teagasc, is the lead on one of the successful projects in securing DAFM funding in 2022. Dr. Krol conducts research into measuring greenhouse gases from various agricultural activities and investigating ways to reduce their impacts by adopting mitigation practices and technologies. She recently secured funding of over €630,000 for an Ireland-New Zealand research project on ‘Refining Emissions Factors for Inventory Reporting’, with the award to the New-Zealand partner bringing the total funding to almost €1.5 million.

In relation to her research, Dominika said that ‘‘my goal is to help improve the environmental sustainability of Irish agriculture by providing best practice guidance backed up by science’’. She said that ‘‘as part of my job, I strive to represent the diverse range of stakeholders that I meet such as scientists, farmers, policymakers and the general public in the shared ambition to best tackle current societal challenges. By including women in scientific research, we make it better, more open and inclusive, with a diversity of voices and backgrounds bringing fresh ideas and perspectives on research problems, helping to challenge the status quo, and ultimately improve both the research process and outcomes for our society’’.

Minister Heydon concluded by saying: ‘‘It is critical that women’s involvement in science and innovation is encouraged and visible, and Dominika and her fellow female research colleagues are a great example of this. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I would encourage all young women to consider a career in this area, particularly in the agri-food, forest, marine and bioeconomy sciences, and to follow in the footsteps of people like Dominika.’’.