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

Dr Sarah Hayes

My name is Sarah and I am the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SSPC, the (SFI) Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, in the Department of Chemical Sciences, Bernal Institute, at the University of Limerick. I am a former science, mathematics, physics and chemistry teacher for pupils in secondary school (aged 12-18 years). I completed my PhD in Science Education in 2012 and my bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences in 2007. My PhD work was in the area of informal and non-formal science education. I have worked for over 15 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. My research has always focused on variations of informal and non-formal education and I am particularly interested in working with under-represented groups in science.

Dr Martin McHugh

Hi, my name is Martin and I am the education and public engagement officer at SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, based at the University of Limerick, Ireland. I am a former science and biology teacher and in 2017 completed a PhD investigating the impact of video technology on student interest and engagement. Currently, I develop medicine and health-themed outreach activities for diverse public groups, and I am active in collaborative research investigations into the impact of non-formal and informal learning environments on participants.

Dr Genco Guralp

Hi, my name is Genco and I am a postdoctoral researcher at SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, at the University of Limerick, working on Science Education and Public Engagement in Science through the ERASMUS+ DiSSI project. I have a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University and my research areas include the history and philosophy of science, philosophy of cosmology, philosophy of physics, and the historical epistemology of science. My PhD work was on understanding how experimental episodes and practices succeed in generating valid experimental results, which, in turn, are put forward as evidence for scientific theories. My current work 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 the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and various edited volumes.