IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE Early Career Impact Fellowship

Developing a sustainable and inclusive research culture at the IOE through an innovative 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 are expected to 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 begin to 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 Development Manager, Tatiana Souteiro Dias, provides 1-to-1 support in liaison with colleagues.  

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

2021 Impact Fellows and outputs

Impact Fellows

Dr Claire Forrest, Department of Learning and Leadership

Claire Forrest

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.


Learning about Sleep with Autistic Teens

Primary Science Capital

The CHAT Project

Action Against Stunting

    2022 Impact Fellows and outputs

    Impact Fellows

    We are delighted to introduce our new cohort of IOE Early Career Impact Fellows. The new award holders are:

    • John Connolly is a lecturer in Secondary ITE in Science specialising in Physics. Prior to working at IOE, he was a teacher for 10 years in a London school. He is currently studying for a PhD at IOE, seeking to explore how pupils' agency is exercised during physics lessons and, in particular, the anxiety that pupils experience during these lessons. As part of his Fellowship project, John wishes to work with physics teachers at secondary school to investigate how to mitigate pupils' negative emotional responses in physics and science in school.
    • Dr Anna Cook is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research. Her research explores psychological and social factors influencing teachers’ thoughts and beliefs about inclusion. Her current project proposal seeks to understand the main influences on early career teachers’ (ECTs') conceptualisations of neurodiversity and obstacles to teacher agency in the enactment of inclusive practice. She plans to use the Impact Fellowship to increase opportunities for meaningful engagement and co-production with practitioners and communities representing neurodiverse groups. Her aim is to impact policy and practice through accessible dissemination of findings and co-created materials that help ECTs respond to the diverse needs of learners when they transition to complex learning environments. 
    • Dr Katie Gaddini is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Sociology at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Research Institute (IOE). She is also an affiliated researcher in the University of Johannesburg's Department of Sociology. Dr Gaddini is currently a Social Science Research Council Fellow (2021-2022) and is conducting ethnographic research on evangelical Christians and politics in the US.  Through this research, she has gained a keen understanding of what political issues matter to evangelical Christians and how their faith impacts their political beliefs. During her Fellowship Dr Gaddini plans to create an executive report to deliver to Christian audiences and host a knowledge exchange (KE) stakeholder meeting with leaders of Christian organisations.
    • Dr Zoe Gallant is a cognitive neuroscientist in IOE’s Department of Psychology and Human Development and member of the newly founded Motor Executive Cognitive Interaction (MECI) research lab. Her main area of research interest is in the role of the cerebellum in cognition, particularly in relation to theories of ageing. Cultural differences in attitudes towards ageing are often unaccounted for in healthcare. Through this Fellowship Dr Gallant plans to work with older adults from diverse backgrounds to raise awareness of the cognitive health benefits of coordinative exercises, and share lessons learned about attitudes to ageing with healthcare providers. Her ultimate aim is to design a screening tool and intervention to prevent cognitive decline that is sensitive to diverse needs.
    • Polly Glegg is a teacher educator in the Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment at IOE. Her research interests include teacher education, teacher educator development and business education. Polly is currently writing up her doctoral research, which explores the characteristics of effective workplace learning environments for trainee teachers completing employment-based, or salaried, initial teacher preparation. Through her Fellowship project she will work with teachers and school-based teacher mentors to craft key messages that communicate her findings to audiences in schools, with clear proposals for action. She will develop a digital resource and plain language summary of these messages, with the intention that mentors and policy makers, respectively, will engage with her findings and act to improve the learning experiences of salaried trainee teachers.   
    • Dr Sinead Harmey is a Lecturer in Literacy Education, Reading Recovery National Leader, and co-leads the research and dissertation modules for the MA programmes in Early Years and Primary Education.  She is based at the International Literacy Centre and much of her research to date has focused on understanding more about early writing development and supporting evidence-based practice, with a specific focus on review methodologies. Her most recent review, published in Educational Review, co-authored with Professor Gemma Moss was part of the ESRC/UKRI funded Duty to Care and Duty to Teach Project.  In this study, they considered what learning there was from other unplanned events like hurricane Katrina for schools in the context of COVID-19, namely the need to focus on care and community – not learning loss. In her Fellowship project she proposes to work with education professionals to co-create a resource that combines their reflections on the research findings and their own experience and to launch this resource via a research to practice webinar.
    • Dr Catherine Jones is a Research Fellow at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Research Institute, and is part of the research team for the ‘Young Adults Study’ (PI Associate Prof Sophie Zadeh). The project explores well-being, identity and social experiences among donor-conceived people in collaboration with the Donor Conception Network. Her broader research interests include parent and child adjustment in different family forms, assisted reproduction, and primary caregiver fathers. Through the Impact Fellowship, she wants to focus on creating educational resources that would benefit adolescents aged 16-18 and teachers, creating video clips that will communicate research on donor conception for this audience.
    • Francesca McCarthy is a final year PhD student in the Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment and also works as a PGTA on the BA Education Studies programme. Having worked as a secondary school teacher within an academically selective local authority, Francesca’s PhD research examines the lived experiences of pupils who fail the 11+, exploring how their stories reveal issues pertaining to social reproduction and social injustice. During this Fellowship she intends to hold workshops to facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in the field of academically selective education. Agreed responses and actions to address key issues identified during these discussions will be used to create an infographic illustrating young people's perspectives on this matter, so that their voice informs practice and policy developments.
    • Dr Zoe Moula is a Research Fellow at IOE. Her postdoctoral fellowship focuses on an AHRC-funded project titled ‘Eco-capabilities: Supporting children’s wellbeing through participatory arts in nature’. She is also a research fellow and EDI co-lead at the Medical Education Innovation and Research Centre (MEdIC), Imperial College London, where she conducts studies related to authenticity, belonging, and the inclusion of arts and humanities in the medical curriculum. As part of this Fellowship, Dr Moula aims to raise UK Parliament’s awareness of the importance of engaging children and young people with sustainability issues across the whole educational spectrum. Through a policy briefing and stakeholder engagement event, the aim is to promote ‘Eco-capabilities’ to policy makers, ensuring development of ‘Eco-capabilities’ into UK schools.
    • Joanne Nicholl is the programme leader for MA Education (Science) and teach on the Foundations of Science Education module and the PGCE Secondary Science programme at IOE. Research findings from her PhD inform pedagogies that encourage students to connect and relate to their local environments, as well as help empower students to realise the world is ‘beyond human’. In her Fellowship activity, she will work with Kew Gardens and a secondary school, so that PGCE students gain training from IOE and Kew about how to teach in outdoor areas. After this, the PGCE students will plan and teach the students from the Secondary school. She hopes the research and activity will inform and guide Kew educators, as well as be used to support science teachers with ways in which they can enhance the experience for their students once they are back in the classroom.
    • Dr Anna Romualdez is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Psychology based at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE). She currently teaches on the MA Special and Inclusive Education programme at IOE and is involved in research for Autistica’s Discover Autism Research and Employment (DARE) project. Mel plans to hold a public panel discussion about employment and autism disclosure, featuring autistic speakers who will share their lived experience with a wider audience. Autistic people may benefit from hearing these stories and knowing that they are not alone and employers of autistic individuals may recognise how difficult disclosure can be and take steps to support their employees through this process, thus improving the employment experiences and outcomes of autistic people.


    This year's Impact Fellow's outputs include a range of written, infographic and video resources. See the research outputs