Eilish McLoughlin wins Lise Meitner Medal and Prize

26 November 2018

Dr McLoughlin wins for showing exceptional leadership and commitment in developing programmes and initiatives to widen participation and engagement in physics.

Eilish McLoughlin Lise Meitner winner

Dr Eilish McLoughlin Associate Professor and Director CASTeL, Centre for Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning at Dublin City University has been awarded the IOP’s 2018 Lise Meitner Medal and Prize.

Dr McLoughlin wins for her leadership of large-scale national initiatives that widen participation in physics in Ireland through formal and informal actions, including Physics Busking, Science on Stage and Improving Gender Balance.

In her citation for the award it was noted that Dr McLoughlin has shown exceptional leadership and commitment in developing programmes and initiatives to widen participation and engagement in physics. Eilish has developed several initiatives and has secured national and international funding to increase public engagement in physics, including inaugural IOP Public Engagement Grant funding in 2005 for Physics Busking. 

Leading the Physics Busking national programme with a team of 40 volunteer buskers – teachers, physicists and researchers – Eilish delivered a year-long calendar of opportunities for public engagement with an audience of more than 120,000 per annum.

Eilish has been successful in securing EU funding over the past eight years to lead and contribute to large-scale projects that support teachers – both in-service and pre-service – in adopting innovative practices in their classrooms. She has led the Science on Stage in Ireland programme since 2003 and coordinates the participation of Irish science teachers in the biennial European Science on Stage teaching festivals. The impact of these programmes with teachers has led to the development and implementation of innovative approaches and resources for teaching and learning in the science classroom.

Promoting physics and physics-career opportunities to young people since 2000, Eilish has been organising and facilitating more than 12,000 students to participate in schools visits, conduct physics experiments and take part in transition-year programmes and camps in Dublin City University (DCU) laboratories. Eilish has also been the coordinator of SciFest at DCU since 2016, annually organising a one-day festival for around 230 secondary-level students to present their science projects as one of 16 regional level competitions of the national SciFest programme.

Eilish has recently secured national funding to coordinate the Improving Gender Balance (IGB) in Ireland project. This project – informed by IGB England and Scotland – is focused on supporting students in making informed and unbiased choices around physics. This project will work closely with teachers, students and other influencers (parents and school management etc) to provide a holistic approach to addressing gender and inclusion in physics education.

Eilish collaborates with IOP Ireland Teacher Network Coordinators and branch officers in the development and delivery of these programmes and initiatives in physics education and is co-chair of the IOP Ireland Education Group.

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