Cell EXPLORERS (www.cellexplorers.com) is a science education and public engagement programme that aims to inform, inspire and involve the general public in science. Established in 2012, the programme facilitates authentic interactions between scientists and young people through hands-on activities in the areas of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Between 2012 and 2022, the programme has engaged more than 45,000 young people and their families in hands-on science in Ireland.

The Cell EXPLORERS programme is delivered by a network of 13 teams based in 10 institutions across Ireland, which are supported by the University of Galway coordinating team. The partner teams are: ATU Galway city, ATU Donegal, Dundalk IT, FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, MTU Cork, MTU Kerry, NVRL-UCD, SETU (Carlow campus), TUS Midlands and Midwest, UCC and UL. Each partner team is coordinated locally by a staff member/postgraduate student coordinator(s). The Cell EXPLORERS national network is supported by Science Foundation Ireland. Since 2019, there is also a partner team based in South Africa in the University of Kwazulu Natal.

Follow us @CellExplorers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.




About our volunteers

Cell EXPLORERS volunteers are staff and students from the network institutions. We use a dual-benefit volunteer model, where our Cell EXPLORERS explainers guide young people in hands-on activities, whilst getting theoretical, practical and experiential training in public engagement in science. Between 2012-2022, we have trained more than 2600 students and staff as Cell EXPLORERS explainers! Visit https://www.cellexplorers.com/volunteers to learn more about being a volunteer and consider joining us!

 About our activities

Activities are delivered both in-person and online (since 2020), at schools, science festivals, youth groups and other community spaces. You  can follow our social media to see when we are active and what we have on offer! Many of our activities are designed for 8-12 years old, as this is when research has indicated that young people begin to make decisions concerning their science identity and future science-related aspirations. Recently, we have refocused our efforts to widen participation in science for young people - leading to the start of our GROWS project - Giving Real Opportunities to Widen participation in Science, supported by the Medtronic Foundation. Read more about our activities by visiting the Activities page or see our latest activities report here.

Collaborating with communities outside of University of Galway

Cell EXPLORERS have sustained community engagement by promoting respectful volunteering for the benefit of society and by working collaboratively with community partners, such as school teachers, youth group workers, Foróige & the National Youth Council of Ireland. Furthermore, it has helped to foster the Education and Public Engagement community in Ireland by consciously collaborating with a large number of other STEM programmes locally, regionally and nationally- including ReelLife ScienceEco EXPLORERSKitchen Chemistry, Brigit’s Garden, I am a scientist get me out of here, St Patrick Festival, Galway Science & Technology FestivalCork Science festival, or the BT young scientist Exhibition to name but a few.

 A little bit about our impact

Our systematic evaluation of activities, and research associated with our informal science education research group, has demonstrated that participation in our activities can contribute towards building young peoples' science capital, broaden perceptions of scientists, and build science confidence. Moreover, our facilitators gain science communication skills and experience, and gain transferable graduate attributes that can help them gain future employment.