SSPC actively fosters a culture of inclusivity and equity and this culture has been fostered by the Education and Public Engagement (EPE) programmes. This whole-centre approach facilitates on-going and effective participation of researchers in SSPC EPE Programmes. Driving this ethos are the SSPC Director, PIs, FIs, Education Training and Outreach (ETO) Officer and management team, who instil an expectation in all members of the SSPC community to contribute to engaging the non-academic public about its work. Since 2013 over 90 SSPC researchers have participated and aided in the delivery of more than 310 Public engagement events. The SSPC EPE programmes have leveraged over €815,737 for projects through both exchequer and non-exchequer funding. This level of international engagement is unprecedented among SFI funded research centres’ EPE programmes.
Education The SSPC supports 60 PhD candidates. The SSPC structured PhD programme incorporates both structured and traditional research elements. The structured element is designed to be both flexible and adaptable, in order to meet the ever-changing requirements of the sector. The key facets of the structured element are credited assessment-based generic and transferrable skills and core discipline-specific modules. In addition, students are also required to develop and keep a Research and Professional Development Plan with their doctoral supervisory team. As employability is at the core of the student experience, industrial placement is a key feature of our approach.
Training The SSPC training programme is developed upon the existing suite of bespoke in-company training programmes that were established under the auspices of the Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster (2007-2013). The SSPC academic partners host training workshops within their host institutions in order to provide industry partners with bespoke upskilling and reskilling training with the pharmaceutical area.
Outreach The SSPC’s bespoke outreach strategy is aligned with Science Foundation Ireland’s overall outreach and public engagement strategy for research centres. The programme engages with, and communicates SSPC research to, pupils, parents, teachers and the general public. Outreach programmes are based upon teacher and scientist informed curriculum materials, which develop cutting edge activities suitable and appropriate to pupils and curricula at differing stages of the Irish schools system.
Dr Sarah Hayes is the SSPC Education and Outreach Officer dedicated to education, training and outreach and is responsible for managing and delivering SSPC's Training, Education & Outreach initiatives. Email: SSPCOutreach@ul.ie.