Our Research and Scholarship

Our research addresses key areas of educational importance to society and is characterised by its grounding in and impact on classroom practice. The research interests of our staff are varied but there are a number of particular strengths including expertise in diversity and inclusion, community relations, literacy, early years education, primary science and technology, physical literacy and pupil well-being.

Our staff have published in many of the leading international peer-reviewed journals in their respective fields, and frequently present their research findings at research conferences across Europe and further afield.

Our scholarship activity focuses on the creation of classroom resources, working in collaboration with expert practitioners. Stranmillis staff also publish in a range of professional periodicals and are committed to participating in professional bodies. Our ambitious research and scholarship plans at Stranmillis are supported by a designated Research Office and the College’s Research and Scholarship Committee, guided by our two visiting professors, Professor Elizabeth Wood (University of Sheffield) and Professor Colleen McLaughlin (University of Cambridge).

Research Excellence Framework (REF2021)

The purpose of the REF is for the UK higher education funding bodies to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base within UK higher education. The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users.

Stranmillis University College continues to build capacity for excellence in its research and scholarship, and is committed to participating in the REF2021 exercise, following successful participation in REF2014 and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008.

For more information on the REF, go to http://www.ref.ac.uk

Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)

In 2014, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the system for assessing research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs), rated 72% of the research outputs submitted by Stranmillis University College as being ‘internationally recognised’ through to ‘internationally excellent’ in standard.

The REF rates the research submitted in terms of its originality, significance and rigour. The College was among 76 entrants in Education judged against a world class standard. Of the work submitted, 20% was rated as 4* (of world leading standard), 24% was rated as 3* (internationally excellent), 28% was rated as 2* (internationally recognised), and 28% was rated as 1* (nationally recognised). There were no unclassified submissions.

In rankings of the REF results carried out by the Times Higher Educational Supplement, Stranmillis came 31st out of the 76 Education entries when judged on its output. This is a significant accomplishment given the relative size of the College. When output was compared with institutions who submitted to REF in one subject only, Stranmillis came 11th out of 26. On overall rating Stranmillis also improved its position with respect to the previous Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008.

The Research Excellence Framework was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).

Top down view of students

Research Impact

Stranmillis University College is committed to enhancing the impact of our research in its broadest terms, and widen dissemination of our research for the benefit of our communities, whether local, regional or global, including our staff and students. Thus we are fostering a culture where (i) a diverse range of impacts, and the activities employed to achieve them, are considered as an integral part of the research process, and (ii) our research community feels confident and able to realise the full potential of its research and research-related activities by expanding the reach and significance of their work beyond academia.

What is research impact?

Academic impact: the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory, application and academic practice.

Wider impact: an effect on, change to or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond academia.

For example, awareness, perceptions, practices, rights or interests of individuals, organisations, or communities have been advanced and positively influence as a result of their interaction with your research through various knowledge exchange, engagement, or impact activities.

Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

As a signatory organisation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, Stranmillis University College fully supports its Principles, namely:

  1. Environment and Culture: Excellent research requires a supportive and inclusive research culture
  2. Employment: Researchers are recruited, employed and managed under conditions that recognise and value their contributions
  3. Professional and career development: Professional and career development are integral to enabling researchers to develop their full potential

These principles are in alignment with our existing aims to provide a sustainable and inclusive research environment which can support researchers at all stages of their careers.


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