Plenary Speakers

Prof. Dr. Claudia Haagen-Schützenhöfer
Claudia Haagen-Schützenhöfer is Professor at the institute of Physics at the University of Graz where she has been a faculty member since 2014. She is the department’s Chair for Physics Education and deputy director of the Institute. 

Prof. Haagen was educated as a teacher for Physics and Languages at the University of Graz and has eight years of experience as a high school teacher. In 2001, she started a postgraduate study in parallel to her work at school. In 2005, she completed her Ph.D. in general education at the University of Graz. From 2009 to 2014 Claudia Haagen-Schützenhöfer held a position as Postdoc at the Austrian Educational Competence Centre Physics at the University of Vienna. In 2014, Claudia Haagen was appointed an assistant professor at the University of Graz and in 2015, as head of the Regional Educational Competence Centre for Physics and Science.  Since 2014, Prof. Haagen-Schützenhöfer is the scientific leader of one of the largest national programs in science teachers’ continuous professional development, the IMST CPD program “competences in mathematics and science”. In 2016, Claudia Haagen completed her habilitation in physics education and gained the venia docendi for didactics of physics at the University of Vienna. 

Professor Haagen-Schützenhöfers’ research interests lie in the area of content specific teaching and learning processes and conceptual change, professional development of teachers and language in science teaching. In the recent years, she has focused on textbook research (competence oriented student assignments and effective forms of representations). Claudia Haagen has been involved in numerous ministerial working groups for physics education and she has served on the steering committee for the Austrian national Physics Curriculum for secondary schools. Since 2010 Prof. Haagen is member of the GIREP committee, currently she holds the position of the Vice-President. 

Prof Kevin G. McGuigan
Prof Kevin G. McGuigan is the director of the RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Group which develops appropriate technology interventions against waterborne disease for use in developing countries. His research specializes in running field studies to evaluate these technologies and has completed such studies in Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, S. Africa and Cambodia. He currently coordinates the €3.6M EU Horizon 2020 WATERSPOUT Project (contract 688928, see in which 18 partner organisations across European and African countries are developing new solar water treatment technologies which will be piloted in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and S Africa. Prof. McGuigan is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). He has supervised to completion 6 PhD and 3 MSc projects and has published over 60 refereed articles in peer-reviewed journals. In parallel to his research activities, he is an Associate Professor in the RCSI Dept. of Physiology & Medical Physics where he teaches Physics on the Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy programs. He is the Cycle Director for the RCSI Foundation Year and International Medical Commencement Programs with responsibility for courses delivered in Ireland, Bahrain and Malaysia and is also an Adjunct Professor of Medical Physics with the School of Physical Sciences in Dublin City University.

Prof. Marco Antonio Moreira
Marco Antonio Moreira is Emeritus Professor of Physics of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil and Senior Researcher of the Brazilian National Research Council. His career as physics teacher lasted fifty years, as a high school teacher (1964-1967), and as a college teacher (1968-2014).  His B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics were from UFRGS, in the 1960s, and his Ph.D. in Science Education from Cornell University, US, in 1977.  

Although he has never left the physics classroom, his academic biography is filled with other activities in physics education such as: Member of the Commission on Physics Education of the Brazilian Physics Society (1970–1974), Member of Commission on Physics Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (1975-1978), Member of the Council for Inter-American Conferences on Physics Education since 1986 (President 1994-1997), Member of the Education Commission of the Brazilian National Research Council (1993-1995 and 1999-2001), Co-Chair  of the  International  Ph.D. Program in Science Education, University of Burgos, Spain (1999-2015), Chair of the National Commission on Graduate Courses in Science and Mathematics Education of CAPES/Ministry of Education of Brazil (2000-2007), Chair of the Academic Commission of the Brazilian National Professional Master’s Degree for High School Physics Teachers since 2013, Editor and/or Member of the Editorial Board of several journals on physics and science education.  His publications up to now include about 250 papers in refereed journals, 125 papers in proceedings and 45 books.  His work in graduate courses on science education comprises the role of advisor of 115 Ph.D. theses and M.Sc. dissertations. 

Dr. David Sands
David Sands studied Applied Physics at the University of Bradford, graduating in 1982 with a First Class Honours degree. He stayed on at Bradford to research electronic characterisation of semiconductor interfaces, achieving his PhD in 1987. He moved to the University of Hull in 1990 and continued to work on electrical characterisation of semiconductors for a while, but gradually concentrated more on laser processing.
Whilst at Hull he also developed a strong interest in physics education and in September 2004 was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship. This was a competitive award designed to mirror the National Teaching Fellowship at that time. David was awarded his NTF in 2015. He is currently Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Hull. He chairs the Degree Accreditation Committee of the IOP, the IOP Higher Education Group and the Physics Education Division of the European Physical Society and also represents the UK on Commission C14 of IUPAP (ICPE). As well as his interest in physics education, he has pursued a strong interest in the foundations of thermodynamics and continues to work in this field today.

Dr. Paul van Kampen
Dr. Paul van Kampen is a senior lecturer and researcher within the School of Physical Sciences and the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL) at Dublin City University.  He is interested primarily in how students develop scientific understanding and reasoning. He teaches physics and physics education at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and is heavily involved in science teacher education. Paul’s main research interests are divided between research-based development of teaching-learning sequences in university level physics and science teacher education.  His teaching is strongly influenced by his physics education research, which focuses on the development of research-led and research-validated educational materials. Paul was awarded the NAIRTL National Award for Excellence in Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 2012. He chairs the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s Development Group for Junior Cycle Science. 

Dr. Bethany R. Wilcox
Dr. Bethany Wilcox has recently joined the Teaching Faculty in the Department of Physics at Colorado School of Mines after completing her graduate and post-doctoral work at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research has focused primarily on student learning in advanced, university-level physics courses. In particular, she has studied students’ use of sophisticated mathematical tools and techniques (e.g., multivariable integration, separation of variables, etc.) when solving problems in physics. This work aims at understanding the nature of the difficulties that students encounter at the intersection of mathematics and physics in order to lay the groundwork for developing instructional materials and pedagogical techniques that help students overcome these difficulties.

 She has also facilitated the development, validation, and statistical analysis of two research-based assessment instruments – one designed for advanced electrostatics courses and one for laboratory courses at all levels. Both of these instruments were designed to provide a scalable evaluation tool for assessing student learning and the effectiveness of instructional interventions in upper-level physics courses. Dr. Wilcox is also interested in understanding and addressing factors that contribute to the continued underrepresentation of particular demographic groups within the physics community. For example, she has participated in several local and national programs aimed at recruiting and supporting women in the physics major.