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IOE Early Career Impact Fellowship

Developing a sustainable and inclusive research culture at the IOE through an innovative pilot programme co-created with early career researchers, for early career researchers.

A small group gathered outside the IOE building (Photo by Jack Hobhouse for UCL Institute of Education)

The IOE Early Career Impact Fellowship is a 5-month researcher development programme that provides funding for the award holder to participate in engagement and impact activities. Six IOE early career staff are working with highly experienced members of the IOE’s Research Engagement and Impact Committee (REIC), academics and other stakeholders to enhance their skills and knowledge for research engagement and impact. Impact Fellows are working towards increasing their research engagement with policymakers, practitioners, under-represented groups and organisations beyond academia, aiming to achieve research impact.

By the end of the programme, Impact Fellows would have:

  • Expanded their support networks 
  • Gained an insight into best practice for engagement and impact
  • Participated in five interactive and tailored online workshops
  • Applied the learnings to undertake their proposed engagement an impact activity
  • Evidenced a successful professional development activity for career development as part of UCL’s Academic Career Framework 
  • Considered how best to embed impact into future research proposals.
Workshops, activities and outcomes
  • Introduction to the Fellowship and overview of Research Impact - including definitions and how impact has evolved 
  • Building an Audience and Communicating Your Research through Social Media
  • Using Co-Production Principles to Engage Under Represented Groups in Research      
  • Crafting Written Evidence for Policy Audiences
  • Tracking and Demonstrating Engagement and Impact Success for REF and beyond.
  • Developing a Narrative and Writing an Impact Case Study.

Following the workshops, Impact Fellows would build on the skills developed to plan, deliver and evaluate an engagement and impact activity over the summer of 2021, related to their area of research. Activities aim to address a question on the area of policy, practice or public understanding that their research has the potential to challenge, influence or inform. 

The IOE Research Impact Manager, Tatiana Souteiro Dias, provides 1-to-1 support in liaison with colleagues.  

At the end of the programme, the cohort of Impact Fellows is due to co-create an event to share their learnings with the IOE research community. Impact Fellows will act as impact ambassadors/advisors within their research communities. They will receive a certificate upon completion.

2021 Impact Fellows

Claire Forrest

Dr Claire Forrest, Department of Learning and Leadership

Dr Forrest is a Research Fellow on a Nuffield funded randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of an oral language intervention called ‘Talking Time’ (PIs: Professor Julie Dockrell, Department of Psychology and Human Development, IOE; Professor James Law, University of Newcastle and Dr Sandra Mathers, University of Oxford). This project targets nurseries in areas of high social deprivation in London and Teesside and trains nursery staff to support language development in children aged 3-4 years. 

She plans to use the Impact Fellowship to provide resources to the parents of nursery children in Tower Hamlets, the most deprived borough of London. Together with parents, she will co-create a resource to share knowledge about language development and parents will become ‘Communication Champions’ to ensure that language supporting skills from the ‘Talking Time’ project are embedded within the local community.  

Lauren Hammond

Dr Lauren Hammond, Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment

Dr Hammond is Lecturer in Geography Education, co-leads the PGCE Geography and convenes an undergraduate module for students in UCL Geography department, ‘Geography Education’. She is committed to researching with, and for, children and her research straddles the fields of children’s geographies, children’s rights, geography and education.

Her project will focus on schools in London and Glasgow that serve communities with over 50% of children living in poverty. Using participatory methods, Lauren will engage children in her research, to develop their knowledge of their rights in education and everyday life. She will also collaborate with their teachers, developing their knowledge and skills in research. The project aims to contribute to debates in children’s rights and children’s geographies through examining the intersections between policy, place, education and lived experience.

Jessica Massonnie

Dr Jessica Massonnie, Department of Psychology and Human Development / Department of Learning and Leadership

Dr Massonnie is a Research Fellow working across the Department of Psychology and Human Development and the Department of Learning and Leadership at the IOE. Her work focuses on understanding how we can best help children to thrive, by considering the influence of the home and classroom environments on their learning and development. She is part of the team on the GCRF UKRI Action Against Stunting project.

Dr Massonnie leads discussions with partners in India, Indonesia and Senegal to profile access to quality preschool education in each country. This work feeds in international debates about how best to balance comparability and the respect of cultural diversity in educational assessments. As part of the Fellowship, she plans to create an infographic summarising the contextual factors and challenges at play when measuring education provision and educational quality across countries, as a helpful tool for policy stakeholders. 

Meghna Nag Chowdhuri

Dr Meghna Nag Chowdhuri, Department of Education, Practice and Society

Dr Chowdhuri is a Research Fellow and lead researcher for the ‘Primary Science Capital Teaching Approach’ project (PI Prof Louise Archer). This project focuses on developing a social-justice oriented primary science teaching pedagogy. Her research interests include primary mathematics and science education, teacher professional development and issues of equity and social justice.  

The project aims to benefit teachers, school leadership, policy makers and STEM education networks. Through the Impact Fellowship, she wants to focus on supporting Initial Teacher Education providers, co-creating infographics that can communicate and translate her research findings for this audience. 

Georgia Pavlopoulou

Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou, Department of Psychology and Human Development

Dr Pavlopoulou is Lecturer in Psychology and Mental Health and founder of the Group for Research in Relationships And Neurodiversity (GRRAND). She is also the Anna Freud Centre lead autism mental health practitioners' trainer as well as a UKCP trainee psychotherapist at Newham talking therapies service. 

She is committed to creative participatory health and educational research, co-produced with community members. Her recent collaborative work shares interesting ideas for improving sleep routines that come directly from autistic teenagers employing an experience sensitive (Lifeworld) framework. School mental health leads, educational mental health practitioners, clinical mental health NHS staff and parents will benefit from the digital material that will be co-created with autistic young people as part of this Fellowship, to communicate key messages about autistic young people's sleep.

Rhiannon Thomas

Dr Rhiannon Thomas, Department of Culture, Communication and Media

Dr Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow on the Science Learning+ project, ‘Move2Learn’, based at the UCL Knowledge Lab. Her research explores how embodied learning theory and research on gestural communication can help inform the design of STEM learning experiences for children, and in turn help support multimodal forms of discourse around these. 

As part of the Impact Fellowship, Dr Thomas intends to run workshops for practitioners in both formal and informal STEM education settings, aiming to create a network of practitioners and academics with a shared interest in broadening children’s engagement in STEM by translating embodied learning theory into real world settings.