Research Centres, Hubs and Networks

The School of Education is the home for a number of research centres (internal and external funded), networks and hubs.  Our specialist research centres, networks and hubs, attract members from across the School and beyond.

The Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and the Centre for Computing Science Education promote high-quality, policy-relevant research within their thematic domains.  The school is also the locus for the work in education of five major centres and hubs funded through UKRI: Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL); Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC); South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub; Urban Big Data Centre; and What Works Scotland

Two key university-wide networks draw leadership from the School: the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet) and Sustainable Futures in AfricaThe School also hosts four externally facing networks: the European Centre of PASCAL Observatory on Place Management, Social Capital and Learning Regions, Policy Scotland, the St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education and the Educational Assessment Networks - University of Glasgow Educational Assessment Network (UGEAN) and International Educational Assessment Network (IEAN). It also hosts the UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts.

Internal Centres

Centre for Computing Science Education

The Centre for Computing Science Education (CCSE) brings together academics, researchers and students across the University, particularly the Schools of Computing Science, Education, Psychology and Business, as well as those outside, including industry, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, and Education Scotland. Mr Peter Donaldson is the lead for the centre from the School of Education.

CCSE seeks to bring focus to the development of Computing Science as a mainstream school and university subject, with a coherent progression all the way from early years education through to graduate level and beyond. The Centre has three principal aims:

  1. to lead high-quality research in CS education, making use of the nationwide network of teachers connected with the Centre to trial and evaluate novel teaching approaches;
  2. to be the primary disseminator of CS education best practice and research results for student and practising teachers at all levels, as well as amongst university and further education CS lecturers;
  3. to generate opportunities for discussion and debate on CS education with a wide range of stakeholders.


Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL)

CR&DALL's conducts inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research and development activities in adult education and lifelong learning in order to achieve observable impacts with respect to social justice, social inclusion and poverty reduction.  CR&DALL pursues a range of research activities, which have relevance to the theme of lifelong learning, and hosts a large portfolio of research projects, funded by the UKRI and the European Commission amongst others. It is directed by Professor Mike Osborne with Dr Muir Houston as Deputy Director.

Its research focus includes Citizenship, Civil Society, Community-based Learning, Literacy, Poverty and International Development and Widening Participation. This research coheres with the strong post-graduate taught and post-graduate research provision within the School of Education in Adult Education and Community Development 


The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change

The Robert Owen Centre aims to promote more equitable education systems through theory-driven, applied research underpinned by a commitment to the principles of social justice and lifelong learning. It hosts a large portfolio of  high quality and internationally recognised research that blurs the boundaries and strengthens the connection between research, policy and practice. It is directed by Professor Michele Schweisfurth.

The work of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change is guided by three overarching questions:

  • What policies and practices promote equitable education systems?
  • How and why do these policies and practices break down the link between disadvantage and low educational outcomes for young people?


  • What are the social and economic impact of policies and practices that promote equitable education?

It has a strong commitment to working with those in the field to develop local approaches that make a difference to the life chances of learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Its research is focused around three strands of activity:

Externally Funded Centres and Hubs

Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC)

The GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC) is a centre of some 30+ researchers funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund. The lead Co-I for its Education and Lifelong Learning strand of work is Professor Michele Schweisfurth. Professor Mike Osborne from the School of Education is the lead Co-I for capacity strengthening.

SHLC is an international consortium of nine research partners aiming to strengthen capacity to address urban, health and education challenges in neighbourhoods across fast-growing cities in Africa and Asia. Its partners include: University of Glasgow, Human Sciences Research Council, Ifakara Health Institute, Khulna University, Nankai University, National Institute of Urban Affairs, University of Rwanda, University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Witwatersrand.


South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub

The UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub sees the University of Glasgow join forces with universities and organisations from across the world to explore how the movement of people in the Global South is affecting inequality and development in less developed regions. This Hub will be led by Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) with Professor Alison Phipps for the School of Education at this university as one of the Co-Is. The initiative is thought to be the largest study into global migration undertaken anywhere in the world.

Over five years, from 2019, the  Hub will seek to maximise the benefits of South-South migration for development – and to investigate how it contributes to the delivery of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as ending poverty and reducing inequality.

South-South migration is estimated to account for nearly half of all international migration (up to 70% in some places), but its potential benefits have been undermined by limited and unequal access to rights and to the economic and social opportunities that migration can bring.

The Hub, which will receive £18.8 million, will explore South-South migration in six global "corridors" linking origin and destination countries, focusing in particular on the following routes: Nepal–Malaysia; China–Ghana; Burkina Faso–Cote D’Ivoire; Ethiopia–South Africa; Haiti–Brazil; and Egypt–Jordan

Urban Big Data Centre

UBDC was established in 2014. In its first phase - up to January 2019 - it was funded by the ESRC as part of the UK’s national data infrastructure, focused on developing big data resources and urban analytics methods for a wide range of potential applications and users, including place-based approaches in Education. In this phase, Professor Mike Osborne is one of its Associate Directors and leads the Education strand of research. In a second phase from 2019-2024 it is supported via transition funded from the ESRC with Professor Catherine Lido leading its Education and Disadvantage work 

Overall, UBDC aims to promote the use of big data and innovative methods to improve social, economic and environmental well-being in cities.  

It delivers analyses which have demonstrable impacts on public policy, society and industry. It does this by publishing world-leading inter-disciplinary research in the social sciences and other disciplines, and also by working closely with partners from government, industry and the third sector. In the field of Education, its focus is upon place-based approaches to exploring educational disadvantage. UBDC works to enhance the quality of urban big data and methods for urban analytics to support the work of others, and provides critical analysis of the value of these for understanding urban conditions. 

Phase 2 extends UBDC’s work on educational disadvantage and place from phase 1 by undertaking a broader examination of how urban educational systems shape attainment, skills development and productivity. The key research questions for this phase are:  

(1) how do home and school combine to shape educational attainment and outcomes? 

(2) how are residential moves and moves between schools related, and how are both shaped by changes in the urban housing system?  

(3) how does the FE system contribute to meeting future skills needs in the urban labour market?  

Research is based on a number of collections of linked administrative data constructed in phase one. Realistically complex methods are employed including multiple membership, multi-level models alongside machine learning approaches. 

Given the interest of the Office for National Statistics in the development of local indicators of skills and productivity, a further current objective is work with them and others to explore the development of composite indicators of urban learning that operationalise UNESCO’s Learning Cities framework, with potentially widespread application in cities within the UK and beyond.

What Works Scotland

What Works Scotland is an initiative funded by the ESRC and the Scottish Government to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform. It was set-up to explore how public services could start to work towards the recommendations of the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services and the Scottish Government’s priorities for reform.

Its four key questions have been:

  1. How can we take what we know from individual projects and interventions and translate this into system-wide change?
  2. What is working (or not working), and why, at the different levels of delivery and reform and at the interface between those levels? How do we identify actions which can be taken in communities, at community planning partnership (CPP) and the national levels to improve impact?
  3. What does the evidence (including international) say about large-scale reform programmes that have succeeded or failed and the impact they had in a system-wide context?
  4. Why do results vary geographically and between communities, and how can we balance local approaches with ensuring spread of what works?

To answer these, What Works Scotland has worked with a range of community planning partnerships, statutory and third sector organisations, and other bodies since June 2014.

What Works Scotland is co-managed by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Professor Chris Chapman for the School of Education is a co-director and its lead on Improvement and Effectiveness. One of What Works key projects in Education is the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland project provides the opportunity to develop and pilot a practical example of its particular approach to place-based change. The learning that emerges will help develop and establish a way of working that will be transferable  across a range of settings and issues.


Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)

GRAMnet conducts research and qualitative evaluation on migration, refugees and the asylum process.  It is an inter-disciplinary network led from the School of Education within the University of Glasgow by Professor Alison Phipps that consults on migration-related policy in the UK and internationally.‌ 

GRAMnet bring together researchers, practitioners, NGOs and policy makers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland by:

  • Being an internationally recognised research network for Refugees, Asylum and Migration in Scotland
  • Promoting knowledge exchange and capacity building between practitioners and researchers in the field through shared collaborative research programmes, open resources, the provision of joint research training workshops and professional development short courses, and the delivery of appropriate Master's and collaborative PhD degree programmes.
  • Encouraging interdisciplinary research on refugees, asylum and migration.
  • Developing strong and active collaborative research and development links, not only between the University of Glasgow and partners in policy making and the Third Sector, but also with those working in the field of sustainability, intercultural and international development.


PASCAL Observatory for Place Management, Social Capital and Lifelong Learning

The PASCAL International Observatory is a global alliance of researchers, policy analysts, decision makers and locally engaged practitioners from government, higher education, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector. PASCAL's focus is on the development and renewal of place. It gives special emphasis to the role of social capital and lifelong learning in these processes, considering how sustainable economic, social and cultural development can be achieved to the benefit of the communities concerned.

PASCAL has its origins in a major conference organised by the OECD in Melbourne in 2002 on the importance of learning cities and regions for regional development. Its European base is hosted in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, which co-ordinates a range of subsidiary networks and projects that foment exchanges amongst its 2000+ members. A particular focus of its work has been its Learning Cities Network, and its ongoing research focusing on the contribution of the HE and TVET sectors to regional and urban development, the Pascal Universities Regional Engagement project.

PASCAL also fulfils an observatory function in its areas of focus through the analysis of trends worldwide in place-based approaches to learning. It is directed by Professor Michael Osborne with Professor Catherine Lido as Deputy Director. 

Policy Scotland

Policy Scotland’s mission is to generate and provide a space for local, national and international public policy debates. It fosters co-operation between academics, practitioners and policy makers, and pool this collective expertise in order to flesh out new initiatives, test the effectiveness of interventions, generate better evidence and engage a wide variety of audiences. Policy Scotland is led by  Professor Chris Chapman from the School of Education.

Policy Scotland builds on the University’s research excellence in specialist policy fields including crime, housing, disability, transport, public health, economic and employment policy, education and welfare reform. Through its research, public events, and brokering collaboration between researchers and policy makers it stimulates new thinking and good practice in Scotland and further afield.


The St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education

The mission of the St Andrew’s Foundation is grounded in the partnership between the Catholic Church in Scotland, the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Government. This partnership recognises the distinctive nature of Catholic education and its ongoing contribution to the common good. Within, research the St. Andrew's Foundation aims to:

  • develop an international profile across a range of research and scholarship activities in the field of Catholic education
  • serve as the hub of a range of professional learning events, conferences and research and knowledge transfer activities of national and international interest

The foundation is directed by Dr Roisin Coll.

Sustainable Futures in Africa

The Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network is an interdisciplinary collective, led from the School of Education by Dr Mia Perry, that brings together researchers, educators, and communities of practice that acknowledge the situated and complex nature of practices and conceptions of sustainability. The Network aims to build understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability in Africa.

Specifically, the Network includes the participation of researchers (from geography and earth sciences, community and adult education, applied social arts, health sciences, and engineering); third-sector organisations (working with environmental and social sustainability, with arts and cultural practice, and with community engagement in African contexts); and community stakeholders (living and working in areas of focus). Participants currently span Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, Malawi, and the UK, and the reach of the network continues to expand.

UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts

The UNESCO Chair hosted within the School of Education at the University of Glasgow is undertaking a programme of work focused on multilingual knowledge exchange in the area of refugee and humanitarian protection, with a focus on fostering integration through creative and cultural expressions. Chair activities take place in collaboration with the University of Glasgow’s Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet) and its wide range of international researchers, artists, public and third sector organisations, NGOs, migrants and refugees. The chair holder is Professor Alison Phipps.

The Chair builds on research findings and partner priorities in such a way as to promote creative, practical multilingual action for change at all levels of society, in all contexts. With strategic Global South partners with experience of historical and present day refugee integration, the Chair builds capacity in research and action focused on fostering cultural expressions of heritage and diversity with displaced peoples, and academic freedom for those at risk.


University of Glasgow Educational Assessment Networks

The University of Glasgow Educational Assessment Network (UGEAN) is concerned with one of the most powerful drivers in education systems internationally – assessment. The UGEAN focuses on several distinct themes of work:

  • Assessment Purposes and Social Justice
  • Change processes
  • Research, Policy and Practice
  • Building Capacity in Educational Assessment

UGEAN is led by Professor Louise Hayward.

It is also the host of the International Educational Assessment Network (IEAN), which was established in May 2018 and is led from the School of Education. IEAN brings together policy makers and researchers from twelve nations and states to tackle collaboratively some of assessment’s most intransigent challenges. IEAN membership currently includes researchers and policy makers from Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Ontario (Canada), Queensland (Australia), Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland and Wales.