Aoife Neary is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education and Assistant Dean Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences. Drawing on socio-cultural theory, her research explores the politics of gender and sexuality in schools and society and, more broadly, social justice in teacher education and schooling. She has held several Irish Research Council (IRC) awards (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2022). She was also PI/Academic Mentor on an IRC/Marie Curie co-funded CAROLINE project entitled Researching and Advocating for Quality Education: Achieving Equality for Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth in Schools (2018-2020). She reached interview stage of an European Research Council Starting Grant in 2021. Her recent research focuses on gender and sexuality in primary school contexts. She was formerly a second-level teacher of Physical Education and English (2003-2011). Her work is published in journals such as Gender and Education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and Sex Education and she led a team to produce the Gender Identity and Gender Expression E-Resource for Teachers with links housed on the NCCA SPHE toolkit and PDST website. She has been involved in curriculum development at a national level through her membership of the NCCA SPHE/RSE National Development group at junior cycle and senior cycle level. Since her appointment to UL in 2014, she has been leading and teaching teacher education modules that explore equality and diversity from a sociological perspective.

Research Interests

Broadly, my current research interests lie within and across the following areas:

Gender, Sexualities and Schooling.
School Culture and the Workings of Privilege
Feminist Post-strucutral and Queer Epistemologies and Methodologies
The Sociology of Emotionality

Professional Activities


  • 2020 - Enterprise Ireland ERC Proposal Preparation (PI) (€12442)
  • 2020 - Junior Cycle Evaluation (One of 20 team members) (€284232)
  • 2019 - Government of Canada Insight Development Grant (Collaborator) (€33000)
  • 2018 - Researching and Advocating for Quality Education: Achieving Equality for Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth in Schools (as PI/Academic Mentor to Postdoctoral Fellow) (€174,018)
  • 2018 - Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (as Co-Supervisor) (€24000)
  • 2018 - Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (as Co-Supervisor) (€24000)
  • 2017 - Exploring Gender Identity and Gender Norms in Primary Schools (PI in Partnership with Transgender Equality Network of Ireland) (€19.902))
  • 2016 - Faculty of Education and Health Sciences Early Career Researcher Seed Funding (€1000)
  • 2015 - New Foundations: Teacher Education for Gender and Sexuality Diversity (€9980)
  • 2015 - UL Development Education Project (€6310 Joint Application)
  • 2014 - New Foundations Engaging Civic Society (€9,778)
  • 2014 - National Seminar Series Award (€1,440)
  • 2012 - New Foundations (€4816)
  • 2011 - Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship 2011-2014 (€60,963)



  • 2015 University of Limerick - PhD
  • 2010 University of Limerick - Master of Arts
  • 2003 University of Limerick - BSc


  • 2003 Department of Education and Skills - Post-Primary Teacher
  • University of Limerick - Lecturer in Sociology of Education


  • Queer Studies SIG Member, American Educational Research Association
  • Sexualities SIG Peer Reviewer, British Educational Research Association
  • Irish Educational Studies Journal Peer Reviewer, Educational Studies Association of Ireland
  • Member, European Conference for Educational Research
  • Board Member, Ubuntu Teacher Education Network
  • Network Member, SPHE Educators Network


  • School of Education Research Committee,
  • Faculty of EHS Equality & Diversity Committee,
  • Irish Sexualities and Genders Research Network,




  • International Advisory Board Member for Stonewall Cymru's Inclusive RSE Guide for Schools
  • International Advisory Board of Queer Studies and Education book series (Palgrave Macmillan)


  • NCCA - Co-opted Member of National Council for Curriculum and Assessment Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) Post-Primary Development Group
  • Oireachtas Education Committee - Invited consultant to Government/Oireachtas Education Committee RSE Review

Research Collaborators

  • Prof. Mary Lou Rasmussen - Host Incoming Visitor - Australian National University -Australia
  • Dr Emily Gray - International Collaboration Type - Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) -Australia