• Room 01.006 - 71 University Street

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in:

-Intergroup relations in divided societies
-The role of schools in promoting intergroup relations in divided societies

1991 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus


Joanne Hughes is Director of the Centre for Shared Education at Queen’s. Her main research interests are in the role of education in divided societies, and inequalities in education. She has led more than 20 research projects on these themes with research grants from the EU, ESRC, British Council, British Academy, Nuffield, UNICEF, Atlantic Philanthropies, and a range of other awarding bodies. Current research projects explore longitudinally the effect of inter-group contact between Protestant and Catholic pupils in Northern Ireland, and the development and effectiveness of shared education interventions locally and in international settings, including Israel and states in south east Europe. She is also working with colleagues in CSE to examine minority ethnic and newcomer community experiences of education in NI (led by Rebecca Loader), and the social cohesion impact of academic selection and the grammar school system in NI.  In 2016 she was appointed to a prestigious UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Intergroup Relations in Divided Societies, and in 2019, her work and that of colleagues was recognised in a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, awarded to Queen’s University for Shared Education. In 2021 she was conferred a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She has advised Government Officials and Ministers nationally and internationally on the development of policies and interventions to promote good relations in schools. In NI her research informed the Shared Education Act (2016) and an associated policy framework, and in North Macedonia, the establishment of a state-wide Interethnic Integration in Education Programme, and the development of resources that have been made available to every primary school in the region.  In Israel, Cyprus and Kosovo she is working with local NGOs and officials to develop shared education interventions, and the Deputy Minister of Education in Kosovo currently holds a fellowship in the Centre for Shared Education. Relating to research impact, her work is one of 19 Signature Projects supported in Queen’s Social Charter (2017). Recent (2016-present) expert advisor roles include, British Academy, ‘Education in Conflict and Protracted Crises’; Academy of Social Sciences, ‘Making the Case for Education in the UK’- subsequently launched in the House of Lords (2017); Salzburg Global Session 605, ‘Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education’; Research Review of mid-Sweden University - Chair of the Education Panel. From 2010-2014 she was editor of the prestigious British Educational Research Journal. She served on the Executive Council of the British Educational Research Association from 2012-2017. From 2017-2021 she held the post of Director of Research in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, leading the School in the submission of two Units of Assessment to REF 2021. Both Units returned in the top 20 within the UK and ranked 4th and 5th in Queen’s. In 2019 she was appointed to the international Learner Research Network Advisory Board. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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