Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science & Maths Award

Each year we are amazed by the incredible science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) work happening in schools like yours all over the country. Last year we presented 546 schools with Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science & Maths Awards and we hope even more schools will apply for the recognition they deserve in 2016/17. Schools tell us that, as well as recognition, the Award brings a range of benefits; it provides a structure for STEM work, raises the profile of science in the school and among parents and increases whole school collaboration.

As a result of participating in the SFI Discover Science and Maths Awards:

  • 89% teachers reported an increase in school science activities
  • 81% teachers reported that parents are more aware of science activities in the school
  • 79% teachers reported an increase in science engagement at the whole-school level
  • 75% teachers reported a stronger sense of team-spirit amongst teachers in their schools
  • 67% teachers reported that they are now more comfortable teaching science

For a detailed guide to each step of the awards criteria, see the Awards Toolkit.

Tips from participating schools

  • Take a whole-school approach. The awards criteria are part of the science and maths curriculum anyway but it is a great incentive to receive an award for your efforts.
  • Start early and keep a record of the work being done throughout the year.
  • Make the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Awards a retained item on the staff meeting agenda.
  • Share the workload and assign different tasks to different classes. Remember if each class meets one or two of the criteria the load is shared!

Each year it is so encouraging to see both schools that have really captured a whole school approach to engaging students in science, and schools that are starting this journey with a few of their classes.

This year to ensure we continue to recognise all this effort, two awards will be available as follows:

  • A Certificate of STEM work in School
  • A Plaque of STEM Excellence for deeper engagement, whole school involvement and external science engagement

DPSM certificate of STEM

Suitable for schools starting out on the STEM journey. A minimum of two classes must participate.

DPSM plaque of STEM excellence

Involve most classes i.e. more than half the number of classes in the school in some aspect of the steps outlined below e.g. investigations, using ICT and maths, trips, speaker visits, presenting at or attending the science open day in the school or other events.

We hope that you and your school will participate this year, there are five steps but we think you’ll find them helpful as a new way of bringing life to science and maths in the classroom and if they are divided out between classes then it's not too onerous for anyone!

Learn more about the awards criteria and see examples for each step


Registration for your school’s intention to apply for a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science & Maths Award was open from October 3rd 2016 until April 7th 2017. This was to give us an indication of how many schools will be participating in the coming year.

Application forms were sent immediately after the Easter holidays (if you have registered your intention to apply for an award) to accompany your Log of Evidence. The closing date for receipt of Logs of Evidence accompanied by the application form was 5pm on Monday 8th May 2017.

Logs of Evidence

  • Logs are simply evidence that the STEM work has been carried out. Your log should provide only the evidence that the adjudication panel needs to demonstrate that your school meets all the criteria required.
  • Logs should be divided, and marked clearly, into sections as per each Step of the Criteria (eg Step 1 – Science, Step 2 – Technology, Step 3 - Engineering, Step 4- Maths, Step 5 – STEM Showcase).
  • The evidence included can be students’ accounts of work carried out, photos, videos, etc.
  • Logs can be paper based or electronic. For the sake of the planet we recommend electronic!
  • Digital Logs of Evidence may be sent using USB, CD or DVD or send us a URL to your school website or blog where you (or your students!) can upload the evidence.

Advantages of using Digital Logs of Evidence

  • You are helping to save the planet
  • Blogs and websites can be easily seen by parents and the wider school community
  • It is more difficult to lose the Logs of Evidence as copies can be kept in the school
  • If students upload the work on the digital media then this can count as evidence in STEP 2 - Technology

For a detailed guide to each step of the awards criteria, see the Awards Toolkit

Please note: For the sake of the planet and for other reasons outlined above, the number of schools submitting digital Logs of Evidence is increasing every year. Last year over half of participating schools presented digital evidence. We will be promoting the move towards submission of digital Logs of Evidence in the coming years with an eventual phasing of out hard copy Logs of Evidence by 2019.