IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Social Science Research Unit (SSRU)

Promoting evidence-informed policy and practice in education, health and welfare through ethical and participative social research.

Founding Director: Professor Ann Oakley
Director: Dr Rebecca Rees

Founded in 1990, SSRU's mission is to engage in and promote rigorous, ethical and participative social research and to support evidence-informed public policy and practice across a range of domains including education, health and welfare.

About us

Focus areas

Our work is guided by a concern for human rights, social justice and the development of human potential. To this end, we engage in:

  • research and scholarship of international significance;
  • the communication of evidence to relevant audiences;
  • high quality, research-informed learning and teaching programmes, consultancy and other work.
Our team

Founding Director

  • Ann Oakley, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy.

Director of Centre

Assistant Director


Honorary researchers and professors



For their generous support, we would like to thank:

  • Arthritis Research UK,
  • Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID),
  • British Academy,
  • British Council,
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),
  • Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS),
  • Department for Education (DfE),
  • Department for International Development (DfID),
  • Department of Health (DH),
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC),
  • Education Endowment Foundation (EEF),
  • European Commission (EC),
  • European Food Standards Agency (EFSA),
  • Health Education England (HEE NHS),
  • Health Education North Central and East London,
  • Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF),
  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie),
  • Islington Council,
  • Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC),
  • Leverhulme Trust,
  • London School of Economics,
  • and Political Science (LSE),
  • Medical Research Council (MRC),
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE),
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR),
  • Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC),
  • Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) / International Development Research Centre (IDRC),
  • Research Councils UK (RCUK),
  • SHINE Trust,
  • Sightsavers,
  • University College London (UCL) / IOE Strategic Fund,
  • World Bank,
  • World Health Organization (WHO).

Study with us


We teach and supervise undergraduate, Master's, PhD and post-doctoral students across the social sciences.

Teaching is an important part of our work as it allows us to disseminate our innovative research methodologies and findings to social science researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.


Short courses

We also offer bespoke training courses and a number of stand-alone courses in research methods.

View all IOE short courses

Our activities

Our broad strands of work are:

  • Childhood, gender and society;
  • Evaluations of social interventions;
  • Perspectives, participation and research;
  • Evidence for Policy and Practice.

We have a research portfolio of projects such as:

See also:


We provide guidance and support to people undertaking research projects and offer training in conducting research. Our staff can provide independent evaluations and help with disseminating research findings for policy and practice.

We also provide access to our web-based software tool EPPI-Reviewer to external groups. The software allows users to undertake and achieve sustainability in systematic reviews.

To find out more about:

Neonatal Wellbeing Network

The Neonatal Wellbeing Network is an international, transdisciplinary network that promotes the wellbeing of premature and/or sick newborns and their families in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) through the co-production of knowledge. 

Our group of academics, health professionals, parents, caregivers and citizens works on equal terms to identify, design, implement and evaluate best practices to promote neonatal care that is provided with knowledge and skills based on evidence, compassion, and respect for children's rights, with the aim of supporting early childhood development in public health institutions in Mexico and similar LMIC contexts.

  • Research priority setting exercises in neonatal care from a child rights perspective in Mexico and Latin America.
  • Generation of scientific evidence through co-production.
  • Promotion of the use of evidence for better policymaking in neonatal healthcare.
  • Mobilisation of knowledge through society-wide conversations.
Steering group members

For more information about our work and how to join please contact r.mendizabal@ucl.ac.uk

Latest news

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Forthcoming events

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