Brendan Smith

Education and Public Engagement Manager

Career Summary

A Science and Technology learning advocate, with extensive experience of delivering educational programmes in Ireland, Africa and the Middle East.

Brendan is Education and Public Engagement Manager of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at the University of Galway

Career History & Experience

In his professional capacity he has worked with a wide range of communities and educational groups to empower them in exploiting the potential of digital technologies for learning, heritage, environmental, social and economic purposes.

Brendan is a long-time committee member of the Galway Science and Technology Forum which organises the largest annual science festival in Ireland; co-founder of the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland; co-founder of Coderdojo Galway city which provided weekly digital makers classes to children and parents at at Insight from 2013 to 2022. In 2015 he was appointed the first lead mentor and course content developer of the SAP-coordinated Africa Code Week that, partnered with UNESCO, Irish Aid and Google, in 2022 alone introduced 2.6 million young people to coding and mobilized 25,000 teachers across 41 countries and represents the largest digital literacy initiative ever organised on the African continent. In 2016, he undertook a similar start-up role for an initiative in the Middle East aimed at people living in refugee camps. In December 2000, he became coordinator of the Fionn Primary School Science, a government funded programme organised by the Galway Education Centre to help in the introduction of science into the Irish primary school curriculum.

Brendan is also a member and a content creator of the EcoEd4All team, which has developed the first environmental and sustainability educational modular programme for senior cycle students in Ireland. He is also co-founder of the Galway City Youth Climate Assembly which brings students from all the city’s secondary schools together to look at active practical ways of tackling at a local level the Climate and Biodiversity Crise as well as promoting Sustainability initiatives.


In May 2019, Brendan was bestowed with the inaugural Cairdeas (Friendship) Award by the American Chamber of Commerce of Ireland for his work in promoting technology amongst young people: was the recipient of the NUI Galway President Award for Societal Impact in 2018; was presented with the Galway City Mayoral Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017, and has twice been honoured with the Galway Science Person of the Year Award.

 Personal Interests

Brendan is involved in many community and environmental projects that includes Terryland Forest Park, Ireland’s largest community-driven urban forest programme, in setting up neighbourhood and school organic gardens; in promoting local heritage preservation initiatives; in Greenway cycling advocacy; and in providing educational, health and social programmes to socially excluded groups and in coordinating the Galway National Park City initiative with Irish President Michael D. Higgins as patron.