Development & Alumni Relations Office 


13 February 2017

See also The Impartial Reporter


With just days to go before the start of the 2017 Northern Ireland Science Festival – which will include Britain's First Astronaut Helen Sharman OBE delivering an exclusive lecture at Queen’s University – Director Chris McCreery has been talking to The Impartial Reporter.

The annual science, technology, engineering and mathematics showcase is backed by the Department for the Economy, Belfast City Council, Tourism NI, Queen’s University, Ulster University, the Department for Communities, The Matrix Panel, the British Council and STEM recruitment specialists MCS Group.

Providing strategic direction and oversight for one of the most vibrant and dynamic festivals in the UK is 32-year-old Fermanagh man Chris McCreery. Chris, who graduated with a BA in Politics in 2006, was elected Chairperson of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival since March 2011.

The Business Individual of the Year winner at the Allianz Arts and Business Awards in January 2013, Chris worked as a Clerical Officer for over a year at the Northern Ireland Assembly before joining Stratagem (NI) Ltd as a Public Affairs Consultant. For the next 5 years he provided public affairs advice, PR and event management support to a range of clients including the Royal British Legion, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Atlantic Philanthropies. He left Stratagem in 2014 to set up the Northern Ireland Science Festival.

The 2017 Festival offers a wide range of workshops, talks and interactive activities for young people, parents and schools during the day and an eclectic mix of scientific debate, talks, theatre, comedy, music and film for adults in the evening.

Over the course of 11 days more than 100 events will be staged across 25 venues, all offering a stimulating and wide range of events focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The programme offers some of the best scientists from Northern Ireland and beyond – including Britain's First Astronaut Helen Sharman, the internationally renowned Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Professor Alice Roberts (BBC2’s Coast) – who will be discussing their work, cutting-edge research and what the future might hold.

And this year it is not just in Belfast where visitors can catch the event, as Festival Director, Chris McCreery told The Impartial Reporter. “We’ve worked hard to craft a festival that will appeal to all ages and backgrounds. The Festival has grown year-on-year and we are very pleased to offer an enhanced programme and bring our Festival roadshows to towns around the country.

Festival events can be found around Northern Ireland in Armagh, Carrickfergus, Enniskillen, Derry/Londonderry and Portaferry. The roadshows are a new feature of the Science Festival and something that Chris hopes to expand in the future. “We feel it’s vital that everyone has the chance to experience the wonders of science in their lives,” he told The Impartial Reporter.

“Last year more than 65,000 people joined us for the Festival and we hope that by widening opportunities, more people will have the opportunity to connect to the wonders of science in their lives.”

Queen’s will host a number of Festival events and talks (many of which are already sold out) in the coming days including Robochallenge, The Geography of Food & Drink in Northern Ireland, Food Fraud Detectives, The Science of Singing and Going Potty with Point Clouds. Click here to find out more about the 34 events taking place at the University.

For further details of the NI Science Festival contact Geoff McGimpsey tel: +44 (0)28 9162 9204.


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