Research Experience for Teachers

Research Experience for Teachers


Primary and junior-cycle post-primary teachers are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in laboratory research under the mentorship of graduate, post-doctoral and faculty researchers, led by Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe, within the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre at the University of Limerick. Teachers will work collaboratively to translate their research experiences into the development of new investigative lab projects, linked to the curriculum, for the classroom. The teacher will receive up to €1,000 to support their travel and accommodation for the duration of the placement and will receive €500 worth of resources for the school to help deliver their lab projects in the classroom. The placement is proposed for two weeks over the summer break but the research group are flexible and will work with the teachers to find the best time for them if the summer isn’t suitable (e.g. mid-term, weekends, evenings).

During the placement the teachers will work within the research group and develop skills critical for introducing enquiry-based learning into the classroom. The teachers will become fully integrated into the research group, partaking in the complete engineering design process from group brainstorming sessions to designing and testing of optical sensors. They will learn about the motivation for such research and the potential impact of these sensors on society.

In addition to the research, the group will also work with the teachers to develop a series of projects to bring directly to the schools. The teachers will build on their research experience to use the engineering process in the classroom to design, develop and test simple optical sensors, for example, a pH sensor or pulse oximeter. The teachers will continue to receive support from the research group over the next two years to ensure the successful translation of their research experience to the classroom.

About the research:

Exploiting the different ways in which light travelling through an optical fibre can be affected by external factors, such as pressure, chemical presence, strain and temperature, has given rise to the development of optical fibre sensors. Optical fibre sensors have many advantages over other conventional sensors, amongst which being passive, lightweight, compact and immune to electromagnetic interference, making them ideal for a wide range of applications. Two sensors, based on optical fibre technology, are currently being developed for application in radiation oncology as part of Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe’s Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship at the University of Limerick: i) to measure the real-time radiation dose to the tumour and/or nearby critical structures, e.g. rectal wall or urethra, and ii) to measure the oxygen concentration of the tumour, which determines how resilient the tumour is to the radiation. Knowledge of this information will allow the radiation oncologists to develop improved personalised treatment plans for patients, ensuring the effective dose is delivered to the target area with minimal side effects to vital organs.

To Apply:

Complete the online application form at:

Deadline for Applications: 15th June 2019

For any queries or for more information, please contact Dr Sinéad O’Keeffe

This initiative is funded by The Royal Society.