IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Lindsey Macmillan

Lindsey Macmillan is Professor of Economics based in the Social Research Institute, and Director of the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities.

What attracted you to take up your position at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)?
I began my work at the IOE in 2012, when I was hired as a Lecturer in the (then named) Department of Quantitative Social Science. In October 2019 I was appointed as Director of a new research centre, the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities.

This is a really exciting time, as we look to embark on a significant research programme, investigating where, how and why inequalities arise across the life course, and how education policy and wider practice might be improved to equalise opportunities for all. 

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?
The most enjoyable thing about my new role is being able to work with enthusiastic, energetic early career researchers and other leading academics to create a new programme of research. We are a multi-disciplinary team, bringing different perspectives and methodological approaches together to answer important policy-focused questions. Having the autonomy to create something new in this space is a rare luxury in academia and I am grateful for the strong institutional backing that we have received. 

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries and/or insights will bring? 
My research is interested in how socio-economic status is passed from parents to children, and understanding how we might reduce structural barriers that restrict life chances of disadvantaged children.

My aim is that my research helps a wide range of stakeholders (including schools, school leaders, universities interested in widening participation and employers) to understand how they might improve policy and practice to equalise opportunities.

How has being in London or at UCL been of benefit to the work you do? 
Being in London has been hugely important for building networks with policy-makers, third sector organisations, large employers and multiple other stakeholders. There is also an incredible network of academics across London, with international thought-leaders regularly flying in to give talks at different seminar series and events. 
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I am a sports obsessive – I spend a lot of my spare time watching Manchester United, Scotland’s national teams, and Andy Murray.