University of Limerick

The University of Limerick (UL) is an independent university situated in the mid-west of Ireland and was established in 1989. It is an enterprising and internationally-focussed university with a student population of 16,500, 20% of which is international, and 1700 staff. UL offers a wide range of disciplinary programmes including arts, business, engineering and construction, health and medicine, law, information and communication technology, mathematics and natural sciences. Some of the UL programme offerings, such as Science Teacher Education, are unique in Ireland. Science teacher training programmes at UL are further supported through the work of the UL Chemical Education Research Group (CERG) and SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals who work in close collaboration with the National Centre for STEM Education, which is based on campus. These research centres have contributed to providing research-based support to the teaching of science and the running of training courses for science teachers, in addition to promoting innovation in science curriculum development and forging contacts with schools and industry.

We have expertise in working with diverse informal learning environments

Sarah Hayes

Dr Sarah Hayes is an Associate Director with responsibility for Academic partnerships, education, and public engagement at the SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, based at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Sarah is a former science, mathematics, physics and chemistry teacher. Sarah completed her PhD in Science Education in 2012 and her bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences in 2007. She has worked for over 12 years in education, training, outreach, community engagement, research project management and curriculum development in industrial, academic, national, and international settings. Sarah has strategically developed a Community-based approach to the SSPC Education and Public Engagement activities and continues to guide and lead in this work.

Martin McHugh

Dr Martin McHugh is the education and public engagement officer at SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, based at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Martin is a former science and biology teacher and in 2017 completed a PhD investigating the impact of video technology on student interest and engagement. Currently, Martin develops medicine and health-themed outreach activities for diverse public groups, and he is active in collaborative research investigations into the impact of informal learning environments on participants. His work also entails training the SSPC research community to communicate their cutting-edge science to the public through writing and presenting.

Genco Guralp

Genco Guralp holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. His main research areas include the history and philosophy of science, philosophy of cosmology, philosophy of physics, and the historical epistemology of science. His research focuses on understanding how experimental episodes and practices succeed in generating valid experimental results, which, in turn, are put forward as evidence for scientific theories. His first book project aims to probe these questions in the context of the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe.  His current project focuses on science studies and the sociology of science in the context of STEM education and public engagement with science. His work has appeared in theEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and various edited volumes.