Three Institute of Education (IoE) staff have recently won the University of Reading Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) funding. UROP offers undergraduate students the chance to gain hands-on research experience on projects. This can make a significant contribution to a student’s transferable skills, employability and understanding of the research environment. This annual competition is very competitive with 119 high quality applications were submitted by staff from across the University this year. Details of these successful IoE projects can be found below.


Prof. Carol Fuller (Professor of Sociology of Education)

Evaluating the impact of the ENRICH programme

A project with colleagues in law and economic evaluation the impact of a programme developed in response to identifying a need for community partners to work together to better support women who have reached crisis point, often experiencing domestic abuse, poor mental health, substance misuse, poverty, unemployment and isolation.

Prof. Fuller commented “I am thrilled to be working with great colleagues on this exciting project.”


Dr. Karen Jones (Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Management)

Higher Education Leadership gaps – understanding the underrepresentation of women and BAME groups in professorial and senior leadership roles

This project is explicit in seeking to understand what factors lie behind the under-representation of women and BAME staff in senior leadership and professorial roles in higher education, as well as what support and experiences contribute to academic staff advancing in their careers.

Dr. Jones said “I have supervised two UROP student placements in the past and found it to be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. I am delighted to be working with the UROP scheme again on my latest research project, which tackles a very important issue concerning the lack of diversity and inclusion in senior leadership and professorial positions in higher education. This UROP placement is a fantastic opportunity for an undergraduate student to learn more about this field of research, to training and mentorship in quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques, and be involved in many other ways in a real life research project. Undergraduate students from across the university can apply for this placement.”


Dr. Anna Tsakalaki (Lecturer in Education)

The effect of using a reading app on beginner reading performance and use of reading strategies

This placement will explore the use of an app as a learning tool for reading alternative grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences (GPC) in age-appropriate texts. Key Stage 1 children (5-7 years old) will be taught how to use the app independently on a tablet and their progress in reading will be measured over time. We will also investigate any change in the reading strategies they use as a result of using the app.

Dr. Tsakalaki commented that “This is a great opportunity for an undergraduate student to get involved in decision making, designing and conducting experimental research in reading using new technologies. All skills are transferable in the student’s own studies and can be transferable to educational practice or further studies in the field of literacy development.”