Staff

To contact a member of staff by email, click their name and then click the mail icon.

  • Aidan Clerkin, B.Sc., Ph.D.

    Interim CEO

    Aidan is currently serving as Interim CEO of the ERC. Since joining the ERC in 2007, his work has included large-scale national and international assessments of student achievement at primary level, including TIMSS, PIRLS, and National Assessments, as well as study of social and personal development and student participation in Transition Year at post-primary level.Read more…

  • Damian Downes, M.A, P.G. Dip. in Corporate Governance, MBA

    Head of Governance and Corporate Affairs

    Damian Downes is Head of Governance and Corporate Affairs at the ERC. He was previously Director of Corporate Services at the Medical Council (2019 – 2021) and College Secretary and Registrar at the National College of Art and Design (2011 – 2019). Prior to that he was the Chief Executive at Kilkenny Arts Festival (2007Read more…

  • Emer Delaney, B.A. (Mod)., M.Phil, Ph.D.

    Research Fellow

    Emer is a Research Fellow at the ERC. Most recently, she has managed the development and standardisation of the New Drumcondra Primary Reading Tests. A member of staff since 2013, Emer is the National Research Coordinator for PIRLS 2021, having previously worked on PIRLS 2016. Her current research interests also include teachers’ approaches to identity-basedRead more…

  • Lorraine Gilleece, B.A. (Mod)., Dip. Stats., Ph.D.

    Research Fellow

    Lorraine is a Research Fellow at the ERC with overall responsibility for the research strand on educational disadvantage and the evaluation of the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme. She has a broad range of experience, particularly in the analysis of complex large scale survey data. She has overseen or worked on large-scaleRead more…

  • David Millar, B.Sc., D.Phil.

    Research Fellow

    David is a Research Fellow at the ERC. He has expertise in methodologies, including sampling, weighting, complex data techniques and test analysis and scaling. David has D.Phil. in psychology from Ulster University and has worked at the Educational Research Centre since 1994. His areas of expertise include survey sampling, test construction, and the scoring andRead more…

  • Rachel Perkins, B.A., M.Psych.Sc., Ph.D.

    Research Fellow

    Rachel is a Research Fellow at the ERC, with responsibility for TIMSS at Eight grade and PISA 2022. She ‎was also National Project Manager for TALIS in 2008 and PISA in 2009 and 2012. Rachel has an ‎M.Psych.Sc. in Health Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Ph.D. from Dublin City University.Read more…

  • Gerry Shiel, B.Ed., M.S.Ed., Ph.D.

    Research Fellow

    Gerry has been a Research Fellow at the ERC since 1993 and has made significant contributions to standardised testing and large-scale national and international assessments. Currently, he is working on the Gaeltacht Schools Recognition Scheme evaluation study. He holds a B. Ed. (NUI St Patrick’s College), an M. S. Ed. in Reading (Western Illinois University),Read more…

  • Rachel Cunningham, B.A. (Mod), M.Sc.

    Research Associate

    Rachel is a Research Associate at the ERC and specialises in mathematics education. She had a central role in developing test content for the Drumcondra Post-Primary Test – Maths and is currently managing the development of the new and updated Drumcondra Primary Maths Tests. Rachel returned to work at the ERC in February 2015, havingRead more…

  • Mary Delaney, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Associate

    Mary Delaney is a Research Associate at the ERC, involved in the data management of TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) at primary level. She has also worked on the administration of PISA 2018 (Programme for International Student Assessment), and on analysis of PIRLS 2016 (Progress in International Reading Literacy) data. Prior toRead more…

  • Sylvia Denner, M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Stats.

    Research Associate

    Sylvia Denner joined the ERC in 2013 and is currently working on PISA (Programme of International ‎Student Assessment). She has also worked on the evaluation of DEIS (Delivering Equality of ‎Opportunity in Schools) and data management for TIMSS (Trends in Maths and Science Study). ‎Sylvia previously worked in the ESRI as a research analyst inRead more…

  • Brenda Donohue, B.A., Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Brenda is a Research Associate at the Education Research Centre, specialising in Reading Literacy. She worked on the PIRLS 2016 assessments of reading, played a central role in developing test content of the Drumcondra Post-Primary Reading Test, and also worked on the redevelopment of the Drumcondra Reading Tests for primary schools. She is currently NationalRead more…

  • Anastasios Karakolidis, B.Ed., M.Sc., Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Anastasios Karakolidis is a Research Associate at the ERC, and mainly works on the National Assessments. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ioannina, Greece, an M.Sc. in Quantitative Methods and Statistical Analysis in Education from Queen’s University, Belfast and a PhD in Assessment from Dublin City University. Anastasios has been involvedRead more…

  • Joanne Kiniry, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Associate

    Joanne is a Research Associate specialising in Reading Literacy and Assessment Development. Having contributed to many projects in the ERC, including the 2009 and 2014 National Assessments, Joanne is project manager for the 2020 National Assessments. Joanne’s principal research interests lie in the area of reading comprehension and assessment construction. In tandem with her workRead more…

  • Mary Lewis, M.Soc.Sc., Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Mary is a Research Associate. She joined the Educational Research Centre after completing a ‎year of European Studies at the College of Europe in Belgium and some postgraduate ‎research and lecturing experience at University College Dublin (UCD) and the Institute of ‎Public Administration (IPA). Mary has worked on a number of evaluations, in particular, onRead more…

  • Gráinne McHugh, B.A., P.M.E., H.Dip. (Data Analytics)

    Research Associate

    Gráinne is a Research Associate where her role involves the analysis of the 2018 PISA data for thematic reports. Prior to joining the ERC in May 2020, she worked as a post-primary music and maths teacher. She holds a BA in Maths and Music from NUI Maynooth, a Professional Masters in Education from NUI GalwayRead more…

  • Caroline McKeown, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Associate

    Caroline is a Research Associate at the ERC, and is the National Project Manager for the OECD’s ‎Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 Study. She is also involved in the ‎‎2015 PISA study, and in the analysis of Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) data for the National Council ‎for Special Education (NCSE) on educationalRead more…

  • Sharon Nelis, B.Sc., Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Sharon joined the ERC in May 2019 and will contribute to the research strand on educational disadvantage and the evaluation of the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme. She has a background in randomised controlled trials and observational / cohort studies in ageing and dementia.

  • Adrian O’Flaherty, B.Sc., PG.Dip.Bioinformatics, Dip.Stats.

    Research Associate

    Adrian manages the computer-based testing system (DOTS), and is the main point of contact for technical queries you may have about any of the online tests. A member of staff at the ERC since 2005, Adrian has previously worked on projects such as PISA (Programme of International Student Assessment), and an evaluation of the SSPRead more…

  • Caroline Rawdon, B.A., Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Caroline joined the ERC as a Research Associate in May 2019. She currently works on a project which aims to develop a framework for the evaluation of teachers’ professional learning (TPL), with a specific focus on TPL in the area of student wellbeing. Prior to commencing work at the ERC, Caroline held Post-doctoral Researcher rolesRead more…

  • Fionnuala Shortt, B.A.Psych., M.Cog. Sci, M.Psych.

    Research Associate

    Fionnuala Shortt (currently on a career break) joined the ERC in January 2017 (having worked here in 2001-2004) and her responsibilities include working on TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) as well as on preparation of test and questionnaire instruments for various studies. Previously, she worked in Australia for a number of years,Read more…

  • Jessica Surdey, MBA

    Research Associate

    Dr. Jessica F. Surdey, MBA is a research associate at the ERC working on test development and developing a framework for the evaluation of teachers’ professional learning (TPL), with a specific focus in the area of student wellbeing. Prior to joining the ERC, she was a fellow at Trinity College on the PACE (Promoting Adolescent’sRead more…

  • Theresa Walsh, B.A. (Mod.), M.Sc., PG Dip. (Stats.), H.Dip. (Ed.), H.Dip. (Data Analytics)

    Research Associate

    Theresa Walsh has worked at the ERC since February 2018. Her responsibilities include training and technical support for DOTS (Drumcondra Online Testing System), standardisation of the Spatial Abstract Reasoning Test, and preparation of both online and paper-based standardised tests. Prior to joining the ERC, she worked in the CSO and in Inland Fisheries Ireland. SheRead more…

  • Alice Duggan, B.A. (Mod.), MA

    Research Assistant

    Alice has a B.A. (Mod) in Psychology and French from Trinity College and a M.A. in Health Promotion from NUI Galway. She joined the ERC in April 2018 to work on the Evaluation of the Digital Learning Framework Trial. She has also worked on the standardisation of the Spatial and Abstract Reasoning Test, and isRead more…

  • Emmet Feerick, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    Emmet Feerick joined the ERC in June 2019. He holds a BA in Psychology and an MSc in Psychology both from University College Dublin. In his role with the ERC he is working on the evaluation of the Digital Learning Framework. He has previously worked as a Research Assistant in the Behavioural Economics unit ofRead more…

  • Caitríona Fitzgerald, B.Soc.Sci, Ph.D.

    Research Assistant

    Caitríona joined the ERC in April 2019. She is currently working on the evaluation of DEIS (Delivering Equality of ‎Opportunity in Schools). Caitríona recently worked as a co-researcher on a project (Doodle Families) relating to parental perceptions of childhood literacy (Childhood Development Initiative, Tallaght). She has also lectured final year undergraduate students for the DepartmentRead more…

  • Eimear Heffernan, B.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    Eimear joined the ERC in January 2022 as a Research Assistant to work primarily on TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). This international assessment is carried out every four years to assess the maths and science skills of students in Fourth Class and Second Year. She holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from UniversityRead more…

  • Sarah McAteer, B.Sc., MRes.

    Research Assistant

    Sarah McAteer works as part of the team conducting the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for 2018. This is an international assessment of ‎the skills and knowledge of 15-year-olds and is conducted in Ireland every three years. She has a B.Sc. in Applied Psychology from University of Ulster and an MRes in Social ResearchRead more…

  • Eva Moran, B.Sc., M.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    Eva works on the evaluation of the Digital Learning Framework.  A member of staff since 2008, she has previously worked on the evaluation of the SSP (Schools Support Programme) under DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools). She holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Ulster, and a M.Sc. in Evidence based SocialRead more…

  • Helena Ní Rócháin, B.A.

    Research Assistant

    Helena began working in the ERC in July 2020 as a Research Assistant, and is currently working on the Gaeltacht Schools Recognition Scheme. Helena’s research interests lie primarily in the areas of sociolinguistics and gender studies. Because of her Gaeltacht background, she also has a keen interest in the role of minority languages within the education system. Helena holdsRead more…

  • Conall Ó Duibhir, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    Conall is working as a Research Assistant in the ERC from April 2019, working primarily on PISA 2021. Conall has a particular interest in the sociology of education. As an Irish speaker, he is also passionate about Gaeltacht education. Conall holds a B.A. in Sociology and Politics from University College Dublin and an M.SC. inRead more…

  • Brendan O’Neill, B.A., H.Dip.

    Research Assistant

    Brendan has been a research assistant in the ERC since December 2021, and is currently working on data analysis and reporting for PIRLS 2021. He has a B.A. in International Marketing & Languages (German & French) from DCU, as well as a Higher Diploma in Social Policy from UCD, where he has also lectured inRead more…

  • George Piccio, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    George joined the ERC in July 2020 where he has been working on the new online testing system for primary and post-primary schools. He previously worked as an ESL teacher in Ireland and abroad. He holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from UCC and an M.Sc. in Applied Psychology from DBS.​

  • Vasiliki Pitsia, B.Ed., M.Sc., Ph.D.

    Research Assistant

    Vasiliki Pitsia joined the ERC in October 2021 to work primarily on TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) 2023. She holds a BEd from the University of Ioannina, Greece, an MSc in Quantitative Methods and Statistical Analysis in Education from Queen’s University Belfast, and a PhD in Assessment from Dublin City University. Vasiliki hasRead more…

  • Natasha Toole, B.A., M.Sc.

    Research Assistant

    Natasha joined the ERC as a research assistant in March 2021 to work on the new online testing system for primary and post- primary schools. She holds a B.A. in Psychology & Sociology from the University of Limerick and a M.Sc. in Government and Politics from University College Cork.

  • Anne Comey, BCL, LLM.

    Senior Administrator

    Anne is a Senior Administrator for the ERC responsible for all office management issues ‎from accounts and HR to the general day to day running of the office. She joined the ERC in 2015 ‎after working for the French Embassy and the Planning and Transport sector as an Accounts and HR ‎Manager. She has aRead more…

  • Patricia Gaffney, B.A., Grad.Dip.

    Higher Executive Officer

    Working as part of the ERC’s Administration Team, Patricia has responsibility for a number of corporate services areas including health & safety and data protection. She is also involved in office management and governance matters. Prior to joining the ERC in 2016, Patricia worked as the European Business Partner for a multinational organisation, with responsibilityRead more…

  • Leo Devlin

    Executive Officer

    Leo has been with the ERC since 2013, working in the Test Department to provide teachers and school administrators with advice regarding their testing needs, and managing the provision of test materials where needed. With responsibility for supplying tests and maintaining relationships with schools, he strives to provide excellent customer service at all times.

  • Lynn Jackson, B.A.

    Executive Officer (Projects)

    Lynn joined the ERC in June 2019. Before Joining the ERC, her work experience includes working with City of Dublin Education Training Board, Student Universal Support Ireland and the Education Shared Business Service on their new Finance project. Now working as part of the ERC’s Administration Team, Lynn  is the Project and Procurement Officer andRead more…

  • Peter Kennedy, B.Sc., MCP

    IT Manager

    Peter is the ICT Manager at the ERC, having been appointed in January 2021.  His role is to oversee all aspects of IT in the ERC. He has a BSc in IT Management as well as other IT related qualifications that include MCP, CCNA and ITIL.  He is also a Professional member of the IrishRead more…

  • Hertz O’Flynn, B.A. in Human Resources, Dip. in Organisational Psychology, CIPD Associate‎

    Executive Officer (Human Resources)

    Hertz was appointed as an Executive Officer to the ERC in April 2022. He is responsible for general administration in the HR Department and provides support to senior management and staff members across the organisation. With over 10 years’ experience in the area, he has a B.A. in Human Resources, Dip. in Organisational Psychology, CertificateRead more…

  • Cian Ó Raghallaigh, B.A., M.A. Journalism

    Clerical Officer

    Cian was appointed as a clerical officer to the ERC in February 2021. He is responsible for general administration in the organisation. He joined the ERC after working for a number of Universities and a public service body. He has taught English as a second language and has worked as a journalist. He has aRead more…

  • Paddy O’Reilly, B.A.

    Clerical Officer

    Paddy joined the ERC in 2022, having worked as a Clerical Officer in An Garda Síochána HQ. Prior to that, he worked as an ESL teacher for over ten years, teaching exam preparation classes. He is responsible for general administration in the organisation. He shares his time between the Test Department and the Centre.

  • Imelda Pluck

    Executive Officer

    Having worked for many years in a variety of positions, Imelda has strong and varied experience in accounts, administration and customer service in both the public and private sectors. She joined the ERC in 2016 having worked in the finance department of St. Patrick’s College, latterly as an Accounting Technician.