Industry-led STEM event for Cork students goes virtual

Aoife McCabe, Bridge Cubed at the STEM South West showcase event back in 2019, held in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork. (Picture: Darragh Kane)

Kicking off the promotion of STEM, Science Technology Engineering & Maths, in Ireland for 2021, participants from the STEM industry in Ireland this week launched their first event of the year, with STEM South West 2021.

The virtual event, scheduled to take place on January 13th between 5-9pm, is aimed at students with an interest in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and its goal is to encourage Ireland’s future workforce to look at a career in these industries in the South West by demonstrating to them just how exciting, interesting and exhilarating the subjects can be in the real world.

STEM South West is back for its 2nd year and, despite the obvious restrictions on live events, organisers say they have developed an evening-long programme that promises to deliver an invaluable insight into a sector that is as fascinating as it is important. 


This free event is an industry-run initiative which is bringing together Ireland’s leading tech, pharma, science and engineering giants, alongside SMEs excelling in these sectors, to stage an epic virtual STEM exhibition aimed at inspiring young minds and informing them of the benefits of a future career in STEM.

This unique exhibition will feature demonstrations in virtual reality, robotics and astronomy, as well as thought-provoking talks from experts in the areas of construction, information technology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, electronics, weather-forecasting, agri-technology, environmental engineering, and cybersecurity. 


Marguerite O’Sullivan, Senior Engineering Strategy Leader, STEM SW chairperson, spoke of the wealth of opportunities Ireland’s STEM sectors have to offer generations to come.

“With demand for STEM professionals and associate professionals in the EU expected to grow by approx. 8% between now and 2025, much higher than the average 3% growth forecast for all occupations, the opportunity for young people to enjoy a successful career in the Irish STEM sector has never looked brighter.”

STEM South West 2021 will include a host of technology demonstrations showcasing STEM products and systems in action, career talks, expert panels, Q&A sessions, fun competitions and spot prizes, and will provide an opportunity for attendees to connect with people who work in STEM on a daily basis.

These STEM professionals will be on hand throughout the evening to provide insight into the many roles and pathways to a fulfilling career in STEM.

Dozens of speakers are lined up for the evening, including the following industry stalwarts: Laurence O’Rourke (European Space Agency Engineer); Niamh Shaw (Scientist, engineer and acclaimed STEM education and space enthusiast (event MC)); Susan HayesCulleton, CFA, ‘The Positive Economist’; Dr. Julie Behan (research and development director at Reamda Ltd.; Cliona Murphy, vice president Global Quality Assurance, PepsiCo; Madeline Murray (co-founder of Change by Degrees); Franz Schlindwein (founder of Izak9 Maths); Ciara Sheehan, founding member and Jillian O’Donoghue, committee member of the WiSTEMCIT-MTU – a student-led society that was set up in 2019 to enourage women across all STEM sectors to reach their ambitions and fulfil their career goals.

Along with speakers from global pharma and tech giants, including Johnson and Johnson, Gilead, Plas, Pepsico and many more.

The body collectively responsible for the event is made up of several industry stakeholders, including business organisations that create over 30,000 jobs in the region, local authorities, and educational partners MTU and UCC.

The event is the brainchild of these organisations coming together to put on an exhilarating and fascinating ‘showcase’ of STEM in practice in some of the most dynamic and revolutionary companies in Ireland.