EQI, Dublin City University

EQI is a research centre specialising in the evaluation of educational policies, programmes and personnel. Evaluation involves research to make data informed judgments about organisational and professional performance. Our work encompasses schools, other learning centres and the wider public service. It is primarily concerned with governance and accountability mechanisms including quality assurance processes, school inspection and organisational self-evaluation.

EQI is a multidisciplinary research group with a diverse membership drawn from within DCU, from schools and other educational institutions within Ireland and abroad and from a range of other organisations. It is located in the DCU Institute of Education, Ireland’s only faculty of education. As a centre of expertise and excellence in teacher education and education more generally, the Institute hosts a range of research centres in key areas of priority and has an ambitious and growing programme of research. With internationally-recognised experts in education policy, inclusive and special education, curriculum and pedagogy, assessment, literacy, evaluation and teacher education, the Institute provides a dynamic learning and working environment. As one of the world’s leading young universities, DCU has established its fifth and newest faculty out of a conviction that studies and research in education and the preparation and support of teachers are central to the transformation of lives and communities.

The DCU team involved in the project

Joe O’Hara

Joe O’Hara principal investigator on the SCIREALY Ireland team, is the Inaugural Full Professor of Education and a member of the School of Policy and Practice in the DCU Institute of Education. He is a Director of EQI – The Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection and a member of the Centre for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Joe has a worked in a variety of contexts as a teacher, researcher, administrator and external examiner and he brings these experiences to his professional engagement with education. He is specifically interested in the areas of educational evaluation, quality assurance, leadership, Initial Teacher Education, Culturally Responsive Evaluation, Policy Influences in Evaluation and gifted education.

These interests have developed throughout an active career, starting at the School of Education, Dublin City University with a Ph.D. in Educational Evaluation (2007). His experience as researcher has allowed him to successfully bid for research grants from a large number of EU funding programs. At a national level he was awarded with the DCU President’s Research Fellowship and the Government of Ireland IRCHSS Research Fellowship.

Joe O’Hara is a Past President of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland, EERA and ECER, and member of International Advisory Board of one of Portugal’s largest educational research centres , CIEd at the University of Minho. He was a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland from 2012-2016. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Personal Services Overseas (APSO) from 2002-2004 and represented Ireland on the Council of the European Educational Research Association from 2008 to 2013. Joe O’Hara was Head of the School of Education Studies, DCU from 2010 to 2016. He is a Director and Founding Member of the Irish Evaluation Network and a member of the Board of the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland. He has worked as an evaluator and consultant for a variety of national and international bodies including Irish Aid, the UNDP, the International Aid Network and the EC TAIEX Programme.


Martin Brown

Martin Brown, co-principal investigator for the SCIREARLY project for the Ireland team, is co-director director at EQI – The Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection and Head of the School of Policy and Practice at DCU, Institute of Education, Ireland. He is also an expert evaluator for the European Commission and an elected member of the Centre for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He is a specialist in educational evaluation and comparative education studies and has planned and led evaluations in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and the Middle East; working for, among others, the European Commission, Dept. of Education and Skills (Ireland), the State Education Development Agency (Latvia) and the United Arab Emirates government. More recently, he was appointed to the academic advisory group for the end-to-end review of Northern Ireland’s Education system. He has received two all-Island – Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCOTENS Awards) for outstanding research in Teacher Education North and South and has also received the President of DCU Gold medal awards for Research Impact, Teaching and Learning, and Civic Engagement.


Gerry McNamara

co-investigator of the SCIREARLY Ireland team is Professor of Educational Evaluation at the School of Policy and Practice, DCU Institute of Education and a Director of the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection (EQI). From 1997-2007 he was Head of the School of Education Studies, DCU. He founded and was course director of the Doctorate in Education, a taught doctoral programme in the field of educational leadership and evaluation. Gerry is a specialist in educational evaluation and has planned and led many major evaluations at home and abroad, working for, among others, the Department of Education and Science, the National Centre for Guidance in Education, Léargas, the Equality Authority of Ireland, the European Commission, and the United Nations Development Programme. Gerry was a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland (2001/2002, 2004-2006), a co-founder of the Irish Evaluation Network, (2000) and was a member of the Council of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society, (BELMAS) from 2008-2012.


Aideen Cassidy

Aideen Cassidy is Assistant Professor in the Institute of Education DCU in the school of Policy and Practice and director of professional placement. She is a co-investigator of the SCIREARLY Ireland team as a member of DCU Institute of Education and the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection (EQI). Her research interests are primarily within the area of educational disadvantage, interventions to improve early school leaving and improve the life chances of those impacted by poverty, teacher training and literacy. Dr Cassidy has been involved in education since the early 1980s and  began her teaching career teaching in two  of the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland in DEIS schools in Finglas and Jobstown in Tallaght, when unemployment soared to 80% in both areas.  After 14 years, she transitioned to the Curriculum Development Unit, where she was appointed as the National Coordinator of the Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP), a programme to support the curriculum delivery to students at risk of early school leaving and working with over 200 DEIS schools nationwide. She was a member of the national PISA committee from 2005 to 2012 and chaired the Department of Education and Skills National DEIS Committee from 2000 to 2011.  Dr Cassidy’s research has focused on adolescent learning in the context of educational disadvantage. In 2011 she was appointed as principal in Beneavin De La Salle College, an all-boys 580-student DEIS school in Finglas and was there for eleven years until she joined DCU.


Sarah Gardezi

Sarah Gardezi is a researcher for the SCREARLY project in Ireland at the Centre for Evaluation, Quality, and Inspection at DCU. She holds a Master’s degree in Evaluation Theory and Practice from the University of Melbourne and an M.Phil. from Beaconhouse National University. Previously, she served as Head of the Department of School Inspection and Quality Assurance at the City School Network in Pakistan and held various educational evaluation and inspection roles in Pakistan, Dubai, and New Zealand. She has collaborated with prestigious institutions such as University College London and the University of Cambridge on CPD programmes. Her expertise includes school inspection, quality framework development, assessment material development, CPD programme development and management, as well as research in areas such as social inclusion, early school leaving, culturally responsive leadership, culturally responsive pedagogy and assessment, school evaluation, ESL, school leadership, and qualitative and quantitative research methods.


Anne Rowan

Anne Rowan has over 15 years’ experience working in the education sector. Her career began as Post Primary English teacher, before progressing into roles in higher education, including lecturing on teacher training programmes and undertaking large scale research projects. Anne completed her PhD in 2023, which focused on capturing the experiences of international students with physical disabilities and mental health conditions in UK Higher Education.  Anne’s work in the EDI space has enabled her to develop effective networks and advocate for underrepresented groups. Anne’s research background has a strong emphasis on implementing participatory research, as well as mixed methods research methods and systematic reviews. She is proficient in analysing and synthesising the results to determine critical factors and formulate clear recommendations for clients in well-written and argued reports and presentations. Within her previous roles and in a consultancy capacity, Anne has delivered bespoke research projects related to EDI, belongs and inclusion, project evaluation and leadership and organisational change. She has vast experience in researching, scoping, and designing research projects within local government agencies, secondary education, and higher education. She thrives on understanding the problems of clients, developing strong long-standing relationships and networks, and finding creative solutions. In her spare time, Anne draws her strength from nature and being outdoors and is an avid hiker. She is also passionate about meditation and yoga


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European Union flag This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101061288
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