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Innovation 2121 to inspire a century of success

Students are being challenged to shape Northern Ireland’s next 100 years as part of Innovation 2121, an initiative from the Department of Education and Young Enterprise NI.  

Post-primary school students will develop innovative ideas that could contribute to economic growth, create jobs and be displayed in The Museum of Innovation at Ulster Transport Museum in the year 2121.  

Cookstown-based educational resource supplier Learning Space will provide a free ‘Innovation Pack’ to all Northern Ireland post-primary schools to support students in developing their ideas.  

A link-up with Belfast emissions specialist Catagen will turn a focus to net zero transport of the future, while Ulster Transport Museum will feature in a suite of digital resources on innovations that have supported the Northern Ireland economy in the last century.  

The top ideas will be presented in a Dragon’s Den-style competition with prizes on offer to the winning schools.  

Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen MLA said, “The aim of the Innovation 2121 Project, funded by my Department, is to encourage entrepreneur spirit amongst older post-primary pupils and to develop critical skills for the 21st century such as design, research and being able to think outside the box. 

“The project is one part of wider events to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland to encourage reflection on the past, including achievements and innovations, as well as providing additional learning experiences and inspiring future innovation.” 

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, CEO of Young Enterprise said, “Innovation is a critical skill that we must nurture in our young people to build our future economy. Working with the Department of Education to provide these resources and support to schools, we will be helping students to develop these important cross-curricular skills. 

“The 10X Economic Vision for Northern Ireland highlights innovation across clusters including digital, ICT, creative industries, agri-tech, fintech, and advanced manufacturing, as key to our future success.  This programme will ensure young people are equipped to lead this innovation into the future.” 

William Blair, Director of Collections at National Museums NI said, “Innovation has been, and continues to be, an integral part of our history and economy. The vast collection at Ulster Transport Museum is testament to this, which is why it is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading transport and industry museums. 

“National Museums NI are acutely aware of the importance of educating the younger generation of the global scale that local innovators have had on this industry. Projects such as this allows them to hear the stories behind the collections and hopefully inspire them to become innovators and inventors of the future.” 

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