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Our strong links with national sector funding agencies enhance the impact of research in education at the University of Sunderland, where the focus is upon learning to think carefully, critically, creatively, independently, and with others so that we can all lead fulfilled lives and contribute to society, industry and the economy on a national and global scale.

Since its inception, the Centre for Research in Education (CRE) at the University of Sunderland has attracted over £1.5 million in external funding and grants to support its research. It provides important opportunities for scholars in educational research to collaborate with researchers at all stages in their academic careers, reaching across other disciplines and institutions. We foster a culture of learning from and building upon experience and practice. Our partnerships with public and private institutions enable our research to engage with a wide range of research users and stakeholders. We draw together research in diverse disciplines such as science and engineering, the arts, humanities, medicine and nursing, social sciences, and leadership and management.

Our three thematic research groups are:

  • Professional learning, teacher education and practice-focused research
  • Inclusive education, special educational needs and disabilities
  • Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment

The areas of research share our signature focus on practical solutions for the real world. They provide inclusive research bases and collegial research communities for staff, doctoral and postdoctoral students.

Our staff and students combine analytical rigor with curiosity and imagination to advance the improvement of educational practice across disciplines and subjects through cooperation and research. We work side-by-side with our students and colleagues across and beyond the University to tackle enduring educational issues, translate ideas from theory and research into practice and investigate and challenge theories and ideas in practice to contribute to new knowledge. The vitality and sustainability of our educational research alongside our clear commitment to widening participation in education for all, is evident in the diversity of our undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.

The dedication of our pioneering scholars and inspiring teachers sparks and sustains deep engagement learning and high levels of achievement for researchers and students alike. Our students teach in educational contexts across the lifespan from Early Years, through Primary and Secondary Education to Further Adult, Vocational and Higher Education. Our work is also at the forefront of digital education offering flexible access to University of Sunderland educational content for learners of all ages across the world. Our research is breaking down boundaries between fields of practice in the pursuit of new knowledge and the creation of fresh ideas and perspectives. As a leading and large-scale provider of professional teacher education, our aim is to understand the changing contexts, conditions, and outcomes of policies, programmes and practices that frame theory, practice and research in education across the lifecourse.

The Centre for Research in Education is led by Professor Maggie Gregson, Professor of Vocational Education. Since 2018, CRE has hosted over 150 events, provided funding for over 15 staff PhDs, supported 34 Early Career Researchers through Individual Research Plan (IRP) funding and Faculty discretionary funding, alongside the establishment of a seed-funded research network. CRE welcomes applications for postgraduate and postdoctoral research students together with suggestions for wider research and engagement activities.

Education research sub themes

We conduct further research in the following areas: