Dr Eilish McLoughlin is an Associate Professor and Head of the School of Physical Sciences at Dublin City University (DCU). She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Chartered Physicist.
Dr McLoughlin has been a leader of physics education research and physics teacher education at Dublin City University since 2000. She is a founding member of DCU’s Research Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL) and served as Centre Director from 2008-2021.
Dr. McLoughlin has led several national programmes aimed at improving in-service teachers’ competence and confidence to teach physics/STEM at early childhood, primary and secondary level. In 2016, she founded the STEM Teacher Internship Programme to provide pre-service physics teachers with the unique opportunity to complete paid internships in a STEM role in industry. Dr. McLoughlin has led the national expansion of this programme to include pre-service primary and secondary STEM teachers from across seven Irish universities - funded through parternship with over 50 industry partners and Science Foundation Ireland. This programme has impacted on pre-service teachers’ understanding of integrated STEM education, supported them in designing learning opportunities based on real-world contexts, and fostered education–industry partnerships in STEM education.
Dr. McLoughlin has led several national programmes aimed at improving in-service teachers’ competence and confidence to teach physics at early childhood, primary and secondary level. In 2020, she designed the national upskilling Professional Diploma in Teaching Physics programme for secondary level teachers to become qualified to teach physics. She leads this first-of-a-kind programme to develop teachers’ content knowledge and experimental skills alongside their pedagogical knowledge for teaching physics, funded by the Department of Education. She led the Improving Gender Balance in Ireland project (2016-2019) which adopted a holistic approach to enhancing physics education at second level through supporting science teachers and students to address unconcious bias and build resilence in physics. This programme was supported through strategic partnerships with the Insitute of Physics and Science Foundation Ireland.
Dr. McLoughlin has also initiated and led several European projects focused on supporting pre-service and in-service teachers’ understanding and use of inquiry approaches in STEM education. She has facilitated science and mathematics teachers to carry out their own practitioner inquiry (RISE, STAMPEd, 3DIPhE), conduct remote inquiries (STEM Digitalis), foster open school and community partnerships (OSOS), and use inquiry-based learning and assessment approaches (ESTABLISH, SAILS).
She is passionate about sharing her experiences and research with teachers, educators and researchers across the globe through invited talks, conference presentations and publications. She has received recognition for her leadership in STEM education and engagement across formal and informal contexts, including:
Research interestsEilish's research is focused on STEM education, and in particular STEM teacher education at both pre-service and in-service levels and pedagogy and assessment at second and third level. Her research interests are in the implementation of innovative pedagogies, such as inquiry based learning and interdisciplinary approaches and the effective use of digital learning to enhance learning and engagement in STEM.
Selected funded research projects
Energe - Energizing Education to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Interreg NWE, 2019-2022, National partner 3DIPhE- Three Dimensions of Inquiry in Physics Education, Erasmus+, 2017-2019, National partnerOSOS - Open Schools for Open Societies project H2020, 2017-2019, H2020, National CoordinatorImproving Gender Balance, Science Foundation Ireland, 2017 - 2019, Coordinator Smartclass, Intel, 2011 - 2018, Coordinator
SAILS, FP7, 2012-2015, Deputy CoordinatorINSTEM, Lifelong learning, 2012-2015, CoordinatorESTABLISH, FP7, 2010-2014, CoordinatorOther research projects
Scientific Literacy at second level, 2014 - present.Interdisciplinary Science at University level, 2005 - present.Physics Education research at University, 2002 - present.