EEF and ESRC announce collaboration on research impact

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), have today announced that they will work together to explore ways to improve the impact of educational research on practice. Two senior appointments have been made to work on the collaborative project, which will begin in September 2013.

James Richardson will be the project’s Senior Analyst. James is currently Director of Humanities at Queen Elizabeth’s Humanities College and has over ten years’ experience in school leadership and improvement in challenging schools. James was awarded a Thouron Scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and was subsequently appointed Senior Researcher at the M. Night Shymalan Foundation where he conducted an analysis of over 200 academic studies of school effectiveness. He is an Associate of the Future Leaders Charitable Trust.

Dr Jonathan Sharples will be the project’s Senior Researcher, on placement from the University of York. Jonathan is currently Manager of Partnerships at the University’s Institute for Effective Education, which aims to capture and spread ‘what works’ in teaching and learning. He has promoted evidence-informed policy and practice throughout his career and is the author of Evidence for the Frontline, a new report for the Alliance for Useful Evidence published in June 2013.

Jonathan previously worked at The Institute for the Future of the Mind at the University of Oxford, where he looked at how insights from brain-science research can help support teachers’ expertise and professional development. Here he co-ordinated the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Scientific Research in Learning and Education, which explores how insights from scientific research relate to UK education policy. He has previously worked as a secondary school science teacher.

Dr Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation said today: “These new appointments will strengthen the work of the Education Endowment Foundation and ensure that our research has the biggest possible impact on teachers and disadvantaged students across the country. I am delighted that James and Jonathan are joining us and excited to be working with the ESRC on the crucially important issue of research impact.”

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: “We know that Social Science research helps to strengthen both policy and practise. It is important that research achieves this impact in the minimum time, and these placements will help to achieve this by embedding academics who bring expert advice.”


1. Dr Jonathan Sharples’s new report “Evidence for the Frontline” can be viewed here:

2. The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead charity in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education endowment of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £28.7 million to 56 projects working with over 300,000 pupils in over 1,800 schools across England.

3. The ESRC is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. They support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector, with a total budget for 2012/13 of £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

4. In March 2013 the Education Endowment Foundation and the Sutton Trust were together designated the What Works centre for schooling, in recognition of their pioneering approach to independent evidence-based policy making. What Works is a network of independent evidence-based organisations, which draws its approach partly from the work of the Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation, and also from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, to develop evidence-based policy making in central and local government and among practitioners.