• Room 01.004 - 71 University Street

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Design, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes and social innovation - Community based participatory research - Critical thinking - Educational attainment

20022022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My overarching research interest is the investigation of social and educational innovation. Generally, my work uses design, implementation and evaluation research to study innovative programmes and supports which aim to improve population level outcomes such as attainment and wellbeing.  I have a particular focus on improving attainment and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in disadvantaged schools or communities. To achieve this, I work extensively with a wide range of stakeholders and utilise my considerable expertise in prevention and early intervention research methods including: programme logic modelling; participatory co-design of interventions; implementation science; psychometrics; and using randomised controlled trials to evaluate intervention effectiveness.

Research Statement

I am an experienced Principal Investigator and research programme leader. I have been awarded research funding of over £5,000,000 to investigate social and educational innovation. Over the last 15 years I have delivered and evaluated evidence-based programmes with many 1000’s of pupils in many 100’s of schools. I have successfully managed over 20 research and practice innovation projects, which have involved the supervision and of more than 20 research fellows, administration staff and PhD students. Please see 'Project' tab above for more information.

I am the Lead for the Innovation Zones (in the Colin and Shankill areas of West Belfast - https://www.qub.ac.uk/social-charter/equality/zones/ ).  This Queen's University Social Charter Signature project is a long term (over the last 5 years) and sustained partnership between Queen's and two local disadvantaged communities and the many professionals, organisations, policymakers etc. working within those communities. The work has the aim of increasing the co-production of research evidence, which has the reciprocal benefits of academia investigating more relevant and impactful social issues and communities using more evidence in moving towards their social development goals. All of which has the shared outcome of helping people realise their full potential and breaking longstanding cycles of disadvantage. A further intention is that Queen's University and these two communities become beacons of social innovation research nationally and internationally.

As well as leading the work in the Innovation Zones, I am an Extraordinary Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa where I work closely with Institute for Life Course Health Research and their Masiphuhlisane Research Centre in the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town. I also act as Trustee of Parenting NI. I am a former Executive Chair of the Children’s Research Network of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and former Operations Manager of Improving Children’s Lives interdisciplinary research initiative at Queen’s. In all these roles, I have initiated and led the organisation of over 30 public engagement events for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. I have written numerous  research papers and reports as well as articles that have been featured in national and international media outlets. Please see 'Research Output' tab above for more details.

I also work extensively with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and have conducted many projects that have contributed to their globally recognised Teaching and Learning Toolkit. A current major project I lead funded by EEF, is SMART Spaces a social innovation design and implementation project with the aim of improving GCSE science attainment for pupils in disadvantaged schools. SMART Spaces is currently being independently evaluated with over 14,000 pupils participating in 140 disadvantaged schools across England.

Teaching

Integrated PhD (IPhd)

I am a research supervisor for a number of Doctoral level students (please contact me for current opportunties).

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

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