UCL Team

Prof. Shirley Simon leads the IOE team. She is a full Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University College London and has managed a range of research projects including those funded by the UK research council. Her doctoral research focused on the implementation of new assessment practices for a range of students, including low achievers. Prof. Simon has since undertaken over 20 years of funded research in science education, focusing on scientific inquiry, cognitive acceleration, teacher learning and professional development. Her current research focuses on argumentation in science and attitudes to science, and she is involved in a new project funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry on widening participation in chemistry. This project is linked to UK university providers of school intervention programmes aimed at enhancing participation in chemistry. Prof. Simon supervises doctoral students working in many aspects of science education in secondary and elementary school contexts. She is also editor for the international journal Research in Science and Technological Education and has links with Umea University, Sweden, IPN at Kiel University Germany, and Waikato University, New Zealand.


Jillian Trevethan is a Lecturer in Primary Education, specialising in primary science. She teaches on a range of primary post-graduate ITE programmes, including the employment based TeachFirst programme. Jillian has been involved in science education for over thirty years and has extensive experience as a Head of Science in a large, mixed comprehensive school, and as an adviser in a Local Authority, working with both secondary and primary teachers to develop science provision for learners. Jillian led a number of projects as an adviser in which she collaborated with teachers, organisations such as STEM Ambassadors and Higher Education Institutions to promote learners’ positive attitudes to science and interest in careers in and from science


John Connolly is a Lecturer for science education specialising in Physics. After working as a Research and Development Engineer for a medical device company in Ireland for three years he taught Science specialising in Physics in a London school as an Advanced Skills Teacher. In collaboration with the school’s Careers Advisor he organised workshops and seminars for students interested in engineering and medicine. His research interest is focussed on increasing the participation of girls in post compulsory Physics education.


Joanne Nicholl is a Lecturer in science education specialising in biology. Prior to her appointment, Joanne was the Science Advisor for a large comprehensive school after being their Head of Science for 2 years. She has a Masters in Science Education that focused on the challenges of writing scientific explanations and the role that socio-scientific issues play in the classroom. She has recently begun a PhD that is looking into controversial issues in science and society and the importance of students being able to make informed decisions.


Dr. Inês Direito is a Research Associate in the Department of Curriculum Pedagogy and Assessment at UCL Institute of Education, and a Policy and Research Officer of the Engineering Professors’ Council. Prior to these appointments she was the Lead Researcher of the Postgraduate Experience Project, an HEFCE funded project, investigating the expectations and attitudes of applicants, students, universities and employers towards postgraduate taught (PGT) STEM study. Before that she was a Lecturer of Psychology in the Department of Education at the University of Aveiro (Portugal). Her PhD focused on transversal skills and learning styles in engineering education, and required her to work closely with students and companies. She was also a Research Assistant in the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications (University of Aveiro), where she worked with a multidisciplinary team of university and industry colleagues in the development of innovative projects in engineering education and research.