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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 Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) 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. UL also has a strong expertise in TESOL and Linguistics, leading to research-based development of English for Academic Purposes programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and in the wider community through UL’s University of Sanctuary status.

UL’s mission is to build on the expertise of its scholars in creating, harnessing and imparting knowledge for the benefit of students and the enrichment of the community and wider society.

Influence of the project on Institution

The project will allow UL to expand its ongoing commitment to engage in International networks and partnerships through the Erasmus+ Programme. The ESTA project will facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration within the UL campus and provide fruitful access to a diverse international network of science teacher educators. The outputs of the project will be of value to the UL Science Teacher Education programme and our partner schools and local community education organisations.

Network – local partners

Dr Catherine Martin

Dr Catherine Martin is a University Teacher of TESOL and Academic Writing in the School of Modern Languages & Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Catherine is a former protein biochemist with extensive research experience in the biochemical pharmacology of human membrane transport proteins. For the past 7 years, she has been teaching TESOL and academic writing to undergraduate and postgraduate students and supervising research students in the area of TESOL/Linguistics. Catherine is particularly interested in pedagogical and training approaches to facilitate learning in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms and workplaces.

Dr Martin McHugh

Dr Martin McHugh is the education and public engagement manager 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.

Dr 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.

Dr Ebru Eren

Dr Ebru Eren is 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. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in Education in 2021. She investigated the science development of women in the fields of physics and physical sciences in Irish higher education from a gender perspective. Her bachelor’s degree is in Language Teaching and her master’s degree is in Gender and Women’s Studies. Before pursuing her PhD, she worked as a post-primary language teacher in Turkey between 2007 and 2017. Her research interests are mainly centred around gender, identity, and power in the context of science, linguistic and cultural diversity in classroom, feminist research, Queer theory, performativity and widening participation in higher education.