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Education, Training and Public Engagement

SSPC’s Education and Public Engagement programme 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

Postdoctoral Researchers: Dr Genzo Guralp and Dr Ebru Eren

SSPC and iCRAG National Crystal Growing Competition 2023

The SSPC/iCRAG National Crystal Growing Competition is now open. This competition challenges students to grow a single crystal using commonly-found home ingredients or laboratory materials.

Closing date: Friday, April, 28, 2023

Who can take part?: The competition is open to both primary and post-primary school students as teams or individuals. The winners will be  judged by SSPC and iCRAG scientists. We have great prizes this year, 1st place: iPad and two runners up prizes: Action Cameras.

Teacher/parent supervision is required for crystallisation of compounds other than those salt and sugar, or those listed in our booklet below. Please view the Material Safety Data Sheets for Health and Safety instructions and indications for materials available for download on this website.

The Crystal Information Booklet

Safety Data Sheets

Submit a photo of your crystal including weight to [email protected] by April, 28, 2023 along with this form:

    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. This was developed to address the lack of STEM education available during the COVID-19 pandemic, running throughout the month of June.

    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 12 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. We are currently running a Citizen’s Science Handwashing experiment across Irish secondary schools.

    SSPC has a renowned EPE programme with many national and international collaborative outputs …….


    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.


    Education and Public Engagement Research Bytes

    Check out these 5-minute videos from Taylor Coyle NICB, Dublin City University, and Shubham Vishnoi, University of Limerick discussing their experience with Education and Public Engagement.

    Taylor Jade-Allen

    Dublin City University

    Taylor discusses her experience with Education and Public Engagement. Taylor’s area of research is pancreatic cancer, often referred to as the silent killer. Many platform gave her opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and she chats about what helps most when trying to explain complex topics.

    Shubham Vishnoi

    University of Limerick

    Shubham Vishnoi, is a PhD researchers in SSPC’s Modelling theme at the University of Limerick. Shubham received the University of Limerick’s President Volunteer Award (PVA)-2021, gives an overview on how SSPC is fostering public trust in science

    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.

    Check out our Teacher Experiment Videos

    Blue Bottle
    Iodine Snake
    Pringles Rocket