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SSPC’s Education and Public Engagement is cutting-edge in best practice in teaching, learning and public engagement, yielding significant impacts through global partnerships.

Funded Investigator: Dr Orla McCormack, University of Limerick

Education, Training & Public Engagement Manager: Colm O’Hehir

Project and Public Engagement Officer: Dr Martin McHugh

SSPC Education & Public Engagement programme

SSPC’s Education & Public Engagement programme is broad and varied, targeting pupils, teachers, parents, grandparents and the wider public. We place a particular focus on working with female pupils, those from a disadvantaged socio-economic background, and those living in geographical areas with little access to STEM research and activities.

Our team has featured on RTE’s Late Late Show more than 3 times with many appearances on news and radio to tell our story and passion in the area. We ran a #Sites4Science campaign that brought science to the city and a Backyard Science challenge for primary school students at home.

Some highlights of our vast programme are our Teachers Continuous Professional Development Programme, our Transition Year Work Experience Programme, the SSPC Structured PhD and our Innovation in Medicines Project.

A major output of our activities in the EPE space covers 10 peer-reviewed publications, 20+ articles in Chemistry in Action and Science teacher journals in >650 secondary schools across Ireland and Europe. During Science week, SSPC featured in a special issue of Newsflash, a science magazine educating >6,000 primary school pupils.


Global Impact

The education space has over 40 global partnerships and the generation of a further €1.3M in additional funding, has allowed SSPC to become cutting-edge in best practice in teaching, learning & public engagement, yielding significant impacts through global partnerships. The funding has created additional positions to ensure further capacity building in the area. Some examples of our EU programmes:


DiSSI is a three-year project funded by the Erasmus+ Social inclusion & common values programme, (€625,000) more here.


ESTA is a three-year project funded by the Erasmus+ Capacity building in Higher Education programme, (€1M) more here.


An EIT RawMaterials funded programme aimed at changing the way scientists and researcher connect with the public about the broad area of Raw Materials, visit the website here.


SSPC work package leader of a global consortium of 10 partners across 7 countries (€900,000).


A project valued at €3.1M with 13 partners across 11 countries, 500+ teachers in 9 countries.


A Day In The Life of a Scientist

Check out these 3-minute outputs of SSPC researchers, aiming to highlight their true day-to-day activities by filming from a first person perspective:

Ketan Madane

University of Limerick

Ketan Madane is an PhD student at the University of Limerick in SSPC’s Manufacturing Theme. Ketan is working on ways to improve processes that will save on production costs for industry and drug product quality for the patient at the labs in the Bernal Institute.

Maria Ferreira Monteiro

Trinity College Dublin

Maria Ferreira Monteiro SSPC Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies PhD student at Trinity College Dublin who works in the area of the conversion of poorly soluble drugs to improve oral formulation for the patient.

John Downey

University College Cork

John Downey is a PhD researcher at the University College Cork, working in SSPC’s medicine theme and works in the area of protein science, improving the manufacturing of complex protein drugs that play many critical roles in the body.

Siobhán O’Flaherty

Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

Siobhán O’Flaherty is a PhD researcher based in the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland working in SSPC’s Molecule II theme in the area of Peptide chemistry/ green chemistry.

Aaron O’Sullivan

University of Limerick

Aaron O’Sullivan is a PhD student at the University of Limerick in SSPC’s Materials Theme. Aaron works in the area of nano-crystals, improving drug solubility for the patient at the labs in the Bernal Institute, University of Limerick.

Taylor Allen-Coyle

Dublin City University

Taylor Allen-Coyle is an SSPC PhD researcher based at the National Institute for Cellular Biology (NICB) at DCU. Taylor researches Pancreatic cancer as it has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers because diagnosis usually occurs at a late and untreatable stage.

SSPC Back Yard Science Competition

Backyard Science was a national online primary school competition that ran over the course of 4 weeks. This competition was developed to address the lack of STEM education available during the COVID-19 pandemic, running throughout the month of June. The project was aimed at primary school pupils across Ireland with specific emphasis placed on Munster. The competition was developed to engage pupils in STEM activities that utilised easily accessible equipment that would be readily available in a household setting. The use of recyclable materials would be a key aspect of the challenges each week. Congratulations to all winners.

Check out our Teacher Experiment Videos

Blue Bottle

Iodine Snake

Pringles Rocket