The Adults Learning Mathematics – 30th Annual Conference was hosted by the University of Limerick., Ireland.

The conference was held from 3rd – 5th July 2023 at the University of Limerick.

Please find the detailed programme for ALM30 here.

Click on the items below for more information:

Conference theme

ALM30 Conference: 

Numeracy Theory and Practice in a Changing World.

The theme is not limited to numeracy, but also includes all forms of mathematics education for adults

Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

The following people will deliver keynote addresses at ALM30.

Prof. Merrilyn Goos: Why adult numeracy matters for active citizenship

Merrilyn Goos

Merrilyn Goos is Professor of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Previously she was Professor of STEM Education and Director of EPI*STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education, at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Before moving to Ireland, she worked for 25 years at The University of Queensland, Australia, in a range of academic roles including Head of the School of Education. Following her first career as a food technologist, she taught mathematics, chemistry, and food science in secondary schools and technical colleges in Australia.

Her research has investigated students’ mathematical thinking, the impact of digital technologies on mathematics learning and teaching, the professional learning of mathematics teachers and mathematics teacher educators, curriculum and assessment reform, gender equity in STEM education, and numeracy across the curriculum and the lifespan. Over more than 20 years, her numeracy research and development program has been supported by more than $1.5 million in external funding. As well as yielding many research publications and reports to government agencies, this work has produced exemplary teaching resources and a widely used teacher education textbook.

Merrilyn is currently Vice-President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction and previously served as Editor-in-Chief of Educational Studies in Mathematics and President of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA). In 2022 she was awarded the MERGA Career Research Medal for sustained and distinguished achievement in mathematics education.

Prof. Hamsa Venkat:Primary pre-service teachers’ STEM project learning reflections

Hamsa Venkat

Hamsa Venkat holds the Naughton Chair in Early Years/Primary STEM Education in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies and is a Full Professor at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Hamsa joined DCU in 2022 and is responsible for research, supervision and teaching/teacher development in STEM in ECEC) and primary levels. Her background is in mathematics education, and she has extensive experience of materials/teacher development, research and evaluation studies related to projects and interventions in early mathematics across England and South Africa. She is currently working on a STEM Literature Review commissioned by the National in Ireland that will guide curriculum specifications development. She has extensive experience of publication and supervision related to early mathematics and mathematical literacy.

Dr Maria Ryan: ‘Travelling a Rocky Road’ – Insights into the impact of mathematics anxiety on adults’ mathematics journeys and how this can inform practice.

Maria Ryan

Dr Maria Ryan is an assistant professor in Business at Mary Immaculate College, School of Post-Primary Education, where she lectures Business Mathematics, and mentors student-teachers during their school placement experiences.

Maria has been lecturing service mathematics throughout her career in higher education and is acutely aware of the challenges students face which lead to anxiety towards mathematics. This career path prompted her PhD research, which looked at mathematics anxiety among mature students using mathematics life story to identify differences between high and low mathematics anxious students’ engagement with mathematics and possible sources of their anxiety towards mathematics. Her current research continues to explore mathematics anxiety among undergraduate students of service mathematics using mathematics life stories.

Maria is PhD supervisor to students researching mathematics anxiety among pre-service teachers, mathematics learning difficulties in adults, and mathematics education in the prison context. She also works with pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers as research advisor, including delivering mathematics anxiety awareness training for primary school, secondary school, further and higher education; the exploration of suitable methods to alleviate mathematics anxiety; and mathematics anxiety workshops for parents.

Maria is co-chair of the Mathematics Resilience Network – Ireland Branch, and is co-author of The Mathematics Anxiety Handbook (forthcoming).

Maria has two teenage children, and when she is not cheering them on from the sideline, she likes walking, travelling and reading.

Ms Elaine Cohalan: Adult Numeracy in a Digital World: Challenges and Opportunities

Elaine Cohalan

Ms. Elaine Cohalan is Innovation Manager and has been part of the senior management team at Ireland’s National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) since early 2019.

Elaine leads national services for NALA (Learn with NALA) that support adult literacy learners in addressing their unmet needs in literacy, numeracy and digital literacy.  This  includes  a  one-to-one  personalised  tuition service,  online  learning,  resources  and  supports.  Elaine also leads NALA’s professional development services for adult literacy practitioners. These are delivered through events, training, online learning and resources. A core part of this work involves initiating and driving innovative approaches to NALA’s services through educational technology and research.

Prior to her role in NALA, Elaine spent over 12 years working in various private and public further education, training and Educational Technology organisations in Ireland in project management and leadership roles. Her educational background spans many areas including software development, cognitive science, business, management and leadership.

Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

According to SOLAS (2021: 26), the Irish State agency tasked with building a world class Further Education and Training (FET) sector, “mathematics is the study of abstract patterns and structures, while numeracy is concerned with contexts in which a person will use mathematical knowledge in everyday life.” Both the mathematical and numeracy demands for adult learners have changed in light of recent developments in many different aspects of our lives, ranging from evolving school curricula, the onset of an unprecedented pandemic, the move towards a technology-drenched society and civil unrest in many countries. In light of this, the Programme Committee for ALM30 believe that it would be timely to consider the impact that these events, and others, have had on the mathematical and numeracy needs of the adult population. The Programme Committee are therefore calling for abstracts under the following headings (please note this is a targeted but not an exhaustive list of topics):

  • Adults Learning Numeracy and Mathematics in a Digital Era
  • Adults Learning Numeracy and Mathematic for a Sustainable, Healthy and Peaceful Global Environment
  • Numeracy Teaching and Learning across all Educational Sectors
  • Changing Adult Numeracy and Mathematics Education Policies
  • Issues in Numeracy and Mathematics Education for Adult Learners in the 21st Century and Beyond

ALM30 will have a number of different types of sessions all based around this theme. These will include:

  • Key note sessions
  • Paper Presentations
  • Practical Workshops
  • Round table discussions

We are currently calling for abstracts for both paper presentations and practical workshops. Abstracts should be 250 – 350 words in length (excluding references). Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts is April 11th 2023. Please use the following form to submit your abstract:

If your proposal for a paper presentation/workshop is accepted for ALM30 we will then request you to submit an extended version of the abstract (~ 1000 words). We will provide you with support and a template for this in due course.

The extended version of the abstract  (~ 1000 words) will be published in the programme of the conference.

To be scheduled as presenter after acceptance of the proposal, authors have to register as conference participant.

Important deadlines 

Submission of abstracts April 11th, 2023
Final notification of accepted abstracts May 8th, 2023
Final date for  an extended version of the abstract (for programme). May 24th, 2023
Conference July 3rd to 5th, 2023

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Organising Committee.

Program overview

Program overview

The conference will run in the Main Building of the University of Limerick from Monday July 3rd to Wednesday July 5th at the following times:

Monday July 3rd: 10:00 –  17:00 with registration from 9:00 – 10:00

Tuesday July 4th: 9:30 – 16:00 with ALM AGM from 16:00 – 17:00

Wednesday July 5th: 10:00 – 13:30

There will also be a welcome reception on Sunday evening from 18:00 – 20:30 for anyone who wishes to attend. This will be held in the EPISTEM Teaching Lab (A1065) which is also located in the Main Building at the University of Limerick. When registering you will be asked to indicate if you plan to attend this reception. There will be no additional cost.

Please find the detailed programme for ALM30 here.


Registration and payment module
How can I participate?

Deadline for registration: June 30th 2023

Registration for the conference

30th Adults Learning Mathematics Conference [ALM30] is being hosted in the University of Limerick, Ireland, from July 3rd – July 5th 2023.

Registration for this conference is now open and you can register at the following link:

The rates for registration are as follows:

Early Bird Registration (Academic Staff): €250      or €295 (after 31st May 2023)

Early Bird Registration (Students): €130                 or €180 (after 31st May 2023)

One Day (Practitioner): €110*

* This rate is only available to practitioners in the field of adult numeracy to attend the practitioner day being held on July 4th 2023.

If you have any queries in relation to registration please contact the Conference Chair, Dr Niamh O’Meara (

Conference dinner

If you’ve been to an ALM conference, you might value the conference dinner as an integral part of the ALM community.
You (and your loved ones) are welcome to join us at the conference dinner at Tuesday evening.
Please, notice that the conference dinner is not included in the registration fee.
More information about the price for the conference dinner and how to make a reservation will be published before the conference.

Financial support to attend conference

ALM is able to provide a small number of bursaries to support new or existing members of ALM to attend this conference and present their work. Applicants are advised to apply early since funding is limited and will be allocated in order of the applications received. The bursary form with further information can be found here. Please note that bursaries are normally offered to those who have NOT received funding before from ALM and are subject to acceptance of their paper or workshop proposal.


The conference will be held in the Main Building at the University of Limerick. All sessions will be held across four university lecture theatres (Jean Monnet Theatre [DG016], EMO09, EMO10 and A1065). The location of these rooms within the Main Building can be found here.

Programme and Organising Committee

Programme Committee

  • Dr Niamh O’Meara (Chair)
  • Prof John O’Donoghue
  • Prof Kees Hoogland
  • Dr. Fiona Faulkner
  • Dr Olivia Fitzmaurice
  • Dr Mark Prendergast
  • Dr Kathy O’Sullivan

Local Organising Committee

  • Dr Niamh O’Meara
  • Ms Helen Fitzgerald
  • Ms Deborah Tudge
  • Ms Megan Tuite

Dr Niamh O’Meara

Dr Niamh O’Meara is a lecturer in mathematics education based in EPI∙STEM in the Univeristy of Limerick. She is also the deputy director of EPI∙STEM, Ireland’s only centre for STEM Education. Niamh completed her PhD in 2011, under the supervision of Prof. John O’Donoghue and Dr Olivia Fitzmaurice, by investigating the knowledge required to teach mathematics at second level. Her research interests include teacher knowledge, curricular issues in mathematics education, improving attitudes and performance in mathematics and numeracy education for all learner, including adults. In recent years Niamh has worked with colleagues across Europe to develop the Common European Numeracy Framework, a framework designed to identify key factors in improving the quality of numerate behaviour of adults (see She has also worked closely with Ireland’s National Adult Literacy Agency [NALA] and produced a series of guidelines for good practice in integrated and standalone numeracy provision. Most recently Niamh was lead author on a report, commissioned by NALA which sought to investigate adult learners’ understanding and conceptualisation of numeracy.


There are three hotels in very close proximity to the University of Limerick. These are:

  1. Castletroy Park Hotel
  2. Kilmurry Lodge Hotel
  3. Travelodge Castletroy

The following are hotels in the City Centre.

  1. The Strand Hotel
  2. The Absolut Hotel
  3. The Savoy
  4. Number 1 Pery Square
  5. The George Hotel
  6. The Clayton Hotel

The City Centre is 5km from the University of Limerick but a number of bus services the route. More information regarding buses from the City Centre to the University of Limerick can be found here.

Social programme

On Monday July 3rd there will be a barbecue for ALM attendees in a location close to the University of Limerick beginning at 18:30. On Tuesday July 4th the conference dinner will take place in Limerick city. Both of these events are not included in the registration fee but you can opt in if you wish when registering. It is also possible to bring an additional person to both of these events.

How to get to Limerick, Ireland?

To get to Limerick from overseas you can fly to Dublin (192km from UL), Shannon (24km from UL) or Cork (116km). Once you arrive into any of these airports there are a number of public transport options available to you as detailed here.

ALM30 was organised in collaboration between

  • ALM Adults Learning Mathematics and
  • EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education at the University of Limerick, Ireland

Financial support for this conference was kindly received from:

  • Failte Ireland
  • Tipperary Education and Training Board
  • EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education at the University of Limerick, I





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