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Quality Education Theme

Theme Lead: Dr Laura Dunne

We are working with schools and a wide range of educational organisations to develop effective programmes that improve educational outcomes and reduce achievement gaps and promote that promotes wellbeing among students.


The Education Theme primarily addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4:  Quality Education which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

This theme covers a range of research interests and disciplinary areas that address the aspiration to promote quality education in communities at home and around the world. We aim to generate and implement research evidence through rigorous and innovative methodologies and through local, national and global research collaboration. Key areas of interest include:

  • Educational inequality- we use evidence gathered through synthesis of existing data and programme evaluation to address inequality.
  • Communities- at a local level, we engage with Belfast communities through our work with our Innovation Zones, a QUB Social Charter project. We aim to extend this approach to other urban and rural communities across Northern Ireland.
  • Secondary data analysis- we use existing data, and leverage the capacity of our networks to link data sources to answer intractable questions.
  • Health and wellbeing of children and young people in schools- we make the most of our partnerships with Public Health to track and influence wellbeing among children and young people in the school setting.
  • Responsiveness-we respond to requests from across the education and health sectors with evidence and research expertise.
  • Global networks and research- we have taken lessons learned and applied these to our work in a global context. We collaborate with strategic academic partners to build in-country research capacity across the globe to generate research questions and conduct research that brings about positive change for children and their communities.

Current Research

The Effectiveness of an Enhanced Book-Gifting Intervention for Improving Reading Outcomes for Children in Care

Reading Together

The Effectiveness of an Enhanced Book-Gifting Intervention for Improving Reading Outcomes for Children in Care (funded by Economic and Social Research Council). Educational outcomes for children in care are poorer than the wider child population. This project is evaluating a book gifting programme to add to the evidence base regarding which interventions are effective in addressing the educational outcomes of children in care. For more information, please visit the project website.






Children from four schools participating in the Crescendo music programme and performing at the Ulster Hall with the Ulster Orchestra to showcase their progress.


The Crescendo music education and social learning programme for primary school children. This project is part of the wider partnership between our Centre and the Colin and Shankill communities, our Innovation Zones which is a QUB Social Charter project. The Zones are spaces where existing assumptions and practices can be questioned, and innovative ways of working can be created by drawing together and harnessing the considerable expertise that exists within local communities, the professions and the academic world.







LINKS: Early Child Development for Peacebuilding


LINKS- Global Health Research Group on Early Child Development for Peacebuilding (funded by National Institute for Health Research) is an international research network committed to supporting the development and evaluation of early childhood development (ECD) programmes in low- and middle-income countries impacted by conflict. This work is driven by a belief that ECD programmes can not only play a key role in contributing to sustainable development but can also make a significant contribution to social cohesion or peacebuilding.  For further details please visit the project website.