Dr. Mairéad Hurley

Dr. Mairéad Hurley

Assistant Professor, Education


Dr Mairéad Hurley is a lecturer in the School of Education, and a member of the Science & Society research group. Her research interests lie at the intersection of science communication, education, and public engagement, with a particular interest in research and practice in non-formal learning environments that connect the STEM disciplines with the arts. She is increasingly focusing her work on issues of climate justice and democracy in education, through her role as Principal Investigator of the €2.4M Horizon Europe project LEVERS, and as lead for Trinity College Dublin's participation in the Critical ChangeLab project, led by the University of Oulu. Prior to joining the School of Education, she was Head of Research & Learning in Science Gallery Dublin, where she led the €3M European Commission funded SySTEM 2020 project, which mapped informal science learning in 22 countries. She holds a PhD in astronomy (Dublin City University), a Professional Diploma in Education (University College Dublin) and a B.Sc in Physics & Astronomy (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Publications and Further Research Outputs

  • Roche, J., Davis, N., Stanley, J., & Hurley, M., The Annual Ecsite Conference: An Engagement and Education Forum for Science Museums, Journal of Museum Education, 43, (1), 2018, p78 - 82Journal Article, 2018
  • Brown, A., Roche, J., & Hurley, M., Engaging migrant and refugee communities in non-formal science learning spaces., JCOM: Journal of Science Communication, 14, (4), 2020, p1 - 7Journal Article, 2020, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Mejias, S., Thompson, N., Sedas, R. M., Rosin, M., Soep, E., Peppler, K., Roche, J., Wong, J., Hurley, M., Bell, P., & Bevan, B, The trouble with STEAM and why we use it anyway, Science Education, 105, (2), 2021, p209 - 231Journal Article, 2021, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Roche, J., Bell, L., Hurley, M., D'Arcy, G., Owens, B., Jensen, A. M., Jensen, E. A., Gonzalez, J. R., & Russo, P., A Place for Space: The Shift to Online Space Education During a Global Pandemic, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 9, (662947), 2021, p1 - 6Journal Article, 2021, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Brown, A., Hurley, M., Perry, S., & Roche, J., Zines as Reflective Evaluation Within Interdisciplinary Learning Programmes, Frontiers in Education, 6, (675329), 2021, p1 - 10Journal Article, 2021, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Roche, J., Bell, L., Hurley, M., Jensen, A. M., Jensen, E. A., Owens, B., D'Arcy, G., Gonzalez, J. R., & Russo, P., Perceptions of the European Space Sector: Youth Engagement With Space Education Events, Frontiers in Education, 6, (750952), 2021, p1 - 6Journal Article, 2021, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Hurley, M., Rhinehart, A., Bell, P., Brown, A., Price, N., & Roche, J., Designing for future action: How STEAM programming can support youth engagement in community changemaking projects, Connected Science Learning, 4, (1), 2022Journal Article, 2022, URL
  • Artificial Intelligence and Teaching Values in Science in, editor(s)Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos , Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics, Springer International Publishing, 2021, pp1-8 , [Hurley, Mairéad, D'Arcy, Grace]Book Chapter, 2021, DOI
  • Durall, Eva, Perry, Sophie, Hurley, Mairéad, Kapros, Evangelos, Leinonen, Teemu, Co-Designing for Equity in Informal Science Learning: A Proof-of-Concept Study of Design Principles, Frontiers in Education, 6, 2021Journal Article, 2021, DOI
  • Frye, Brenda L., Coe, Dan, Bowen, David V., Benitez, Narciso, Broadhurst, Tom, Guhathakurta, Puragra, Illingworth, Garth, Menanteau, Felipe, Sharon, Keren, Lupton, Robert, Meylan, Georges, Zekser, Kerry, Meurer, Gerhardt, Hurley, Mairead, The Sextet Arcs: A Strongly Lensed Lyman Break Galaxy in the ACS Spectroscopic Galaxy Survey toward Abell 1689, The Astrophysical Journal, 665, (2), 2007, p921-935Journal Article, 2007, DOI
  • Hurley, Mairead, Madore, Barry F., Freedman, Wendy L., THE PECULIAR CEPHEID FN Aql, The Astronomical Journal, 135, (6), 2008, p2217-2221Journal Article, 2008, DOI
  • Frye, Brenda L., Bowen, David V., Hurley, Mairead, Tripp, Todd M., Fan, Xiaohui, Holden, Bradford, Guhathakurta, Puragra, Coe, Dan, Broadhurst, Tom, Egami, Eiichi, Meylan, G., Observations of the Gas Reservoir around a Star-Forming Galaxy in the Early Universe, The Astrophysical Journal, 685, (1), 2008, pL5-L8Journal Article, 2008, DOI
  • Frye, Brenda L., Hurley, Mairead, Bowen, David V., Meurer, Gerhardt, Sharon, Keren, Straughn, Amber, Coe, Dan, Broadhurst, Tom, Guhathakurta, Puragra, SPATIALLY RESOLVED HST GRISM SPECTROSCOPY OF A LENSED EMISSION LINE GALAXY AT z~ 1, The Astrophysical Journal, 754, (1), 2012, p17Journal Article, 2012, DOI
  • Debruyne, Christophe, Grehan, Laura, Hurley, Mairéad, Kearns, Anne, O'Neill, Ciaran, One year of DALIDA Data Literacy Workshops for Adults: A Report, ACM, 2022Conference Paper, 2022, DOI
  • Mairéad Hurley, Deirdre Butler, Eilish McLoughlin, STEM Teacher Professional Learning Through Immersive STEM Learning Placements in Industry: a Systematic Literature Review, Journal for STEM Education Research, 2023Journal Article, 2023, URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Hurley, M., Butler., D., McLoughlin E., Immersive STEM Learning Experiences to Shape Shared Futures, Dublin, Dublin City University, November, 2021Report, URL
  • Zolotonosa, M., and Hurley, M., Reshaping science learning: Findings and recommendations from SySTEM 2020, Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, 2021Report, TARA - Full Text
  • Hurley, Mairéad & Colclough, Mary, RISING: Findings from a Creative Climate Action Programme, 2022, Trinity College Dublin, 2022Report, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Mairéad Hurley, Debunked: Data Literacy For Adults Evaluation Report, ADAPT, the SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology , January 2023, 2023Report, URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Darling, O., Hurley, M., Grehan, L., Kearns, A, A Data Literate Ireland: The Case for a Whole-of-Government Approach to Data Literacy Skills Development in Ireland, December, 2022Report, URL , TARA - Full Text

Research Expertise

The key direction of my research revolves around justice-oriented and transdisciplinary approaches to science learning, particularly in the context of climate and democracy education. I aim to explore innovative and inclusive practices that bridge the gap between art, science, and technology, fostering collaboration and engagement in both formal and non-formal learning environments. One of the key aspects of my research is transdisciplinarity, which entails breaking down disciplinary boundaries and integrating diverse knowledge systems and perspectives. By incorporating elements of art, science, and technology, I seek to create meaningful learning experiences that promote holistic understanding and address complex societal challenges. This approach encourages learners to engage with real-world problems, promoting critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Another crucial aspect is the focus on justice-oriented practices. I aim to ensure that science learning is accessible, equitable, and inclusive for all individuals, irrespective of their backgrounds or circumstances. By addressing social and educational inclusion, I strive to create learning ecosystems that empower marginalized groups and promote fairness and justice. Methodological development and critique form an integral part of my research. I continuously explore and refine research methods and approaches that align with the transdisciplinary nature of my work. This involves adopting participatory research methodologies, engaging stakeholders, and promoting co-creation of knowledge. Public engagement plays a significant role in my research agenda. By leveraging the power of art, science, and technology, I aim to engage the public in meaningful conversations and interactions related to climate and democracy education. Through exhibitions, workshops, and other interactive platforms, I seek to foster dialogue, inspire action, and increase awareness of the interconnectedness between science, society, and the environment. Ultimately, my research aims to contribute to the field by serving as a conceptual and empirical anchor. By constantly reflecting on the relative weight and significance of the different aspects of my research, I aim to adapt and evolve my approach to ensure its relevance and contribution to the broader field of science education.

  • Title
    LEVERS: Learning Ventures for Climate Justice
    The LEVERS project has been awarded €2.4M from the European Commission, UKRI & SERI to investigate the potential of localised learning ecosystems to support community climate responses in nine countries: Ireland, the UK, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Slovenia, Serbia, Greece, and Cyprus. The project researches the implementation of a transdisciplinary, lifelong-learning approach to science education in diverse settings across Europe, addressing the complex challenge of the climate and environmental crisis.
    Funding Agency
    European Commission [+UKRI + SERI]
    Date From
    Date To
  • Title
    DEMOCRACY MEETS ARTS: CRITICAL CHANGE LABS FOR BUILDING DEMOCRATIC CULTURES THROUGH CREATIVE AND NARRATIVE PRACTICES The overall goal of the Critical ChangeLab project is to strengthen democracy in Europe by creating and implementing a flexible model of democratic pedagogy using a bottom-up approach that empowers young people to `own" everyday democracy and engage in direct action towards justice-oriented transformations. The Model is created following a participatory process with youth, educators, and other stakeholders, using Participatory Action Research (PAR) and participatory evaluation. The Critical ChangeLab project aims to build a resilient European democracy by reinvigorating the relationship between youth and democracy through civic interventions in which young people envision alternative futures for (shared) European democracy, and act on that. The project aims to create a flexible Critical ChangeLab Model for Democratic Pedagogy in and through learning environments. In the model, learning environments implement Critical ChangeLabs, which draw on creative and critical practices for supporting youth-led civic interventions. These interventions tackle societal challenges that are close and relevant for youth. To address these challenges, youth are invited to explore the past-present-future of a given situation, rethinking democratic systems, and making justice-oriented transformations. The target groups for the project and the Critical ChangeLabs are 11-18-year-old youth in formal and non-formal learning environments, but the Labs will also include civil society organisations and industry, and citizens in co-creation activities. The aim is to grow young people's transformative agency by supporting them to make a difference in their close environments and co-build democracy. The Critical ChangeLab Model will be created and implemented in collaboration with stakeholders " youth, educators, civil society organisations and industry and citizens in nine partner countries including Ireland " in three cycles of research, drawing on participatory design and action research traditions in its working as well as in creative and narrative practices. Critical ChangeLab will also contribute to European democracy education via teacher education and professional development actions. The Model and the research outputs will generate robust evidence for democratic curriculum development.
    Funding Agency
    European Commission
    Date From
    Date To


  • Member: Expert Advisory Board for Education and Public Engagement at CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices. 2021