SFI funds two STARs in Limerick

6 May 2008

Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre at University of Limerick, has been awarded funding by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for two science teacher assistant researchers (STARs).

The SFI STARs programme is an initiative through which teachers can receive support to conduct research within an SFI-funded research team during school holidays for a period of between six to eight weeks. Teachers receive a stipend equivalent to up to eight weeks salary for their participation in the programme.

The goal is to help teachers renew their interest in science as researchers, connect them with faculty in the universities and institutes of technology and enhance the teaching of science across the educational system. The primary aim of the programme is to disseminate new skills and knowledge to teachers which can then be passed on to their students.

Two Limerick teachers, Muireann O’Brien and Brendan O’Sullivan, will join Lero for eight weeks during the summer as part of the programme.

They will work on “designing a transition unit to teach computational concepts and computational thinking”.

It is expected the experience and knowledge gained will greatly assist in the classroom and in nurturing interest in science among students and teachers.

O’Brien and O’Sullivan have already been involved in a Lero Education and Outreach pilot programme at schools in the Limerick area. Their involvement during the summer will enable Lero to gain a deeper insight into the perspectives and needs of ICT education in secondary schools.

Lero was established in November 2005 with support from SFI’s CSET (Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology) programme.

It is a collaborative organisation, embracing the software engineering research activities in the University of Limerick, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

By Niall Byrne