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Research in education informs our teaching and learning, and our teaching and learning informs our research.

Education and training play a key role in shaping the skills and knowledge of the economy as well as creating social cohesion in the face of change. Our research engages with contemporary challenges of professional practice in education from early childhood and schools to tertiary education and workplace learning.

Our innovative research includes projects relating to:

  • enhancement of school teaching
  • teacher education
  • educational policy
  • tertiary teaching and learning
  • community education.

UC also reaches beyond Australia, with our researchers helping rural communities in developing countries such as Pakistan, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea apply practical education to advance their agricultural production and marketing, through the use of community engagement, technology and communication skills.

Research Centres

UC explores the challenges posed by contemporary education by providing a home to:

Our Partnerships

Affiliated Schools Research Program

The Affiliated Schools Program is a collaborative partnership between UC and the ACT Government and a key initiative under the Territory’s Future of Education Strategy. The partnership is designed to enhance students’ learning outcomes and was developed using the Mutual Affiliation for Sustained Transformation (MAST) model. An important element of this partnership is the Affiliated Schools Research Program which fosters research towards system and school improvement through evidence‐based enhancements to student learning and well‐being, teaching practice and educational policy. It is aligned to the ACT Government Future of Education strategy.

Other partnerships

UC works closely with other leading education institutions, including:

  • The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • Ian Potter Foundation
  • NSW Environment Trust
  • Australian Government Department of Education
  • Education Services Australia
  • NSW Department of Education.

Feature Projects

Some of our ground-breaking work in educational theory and practice focuses on:

STEM Education

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Research Centre, led by Centenary Professor Tom Lowrie, focuses on innovations in technology and STEM education research. Our mission is to influence policy and practice through applied social and cognitive research situated within contextually bounded settings. Our research covers three overarching themes:

  • Mathematical Sciences and Technology: STEM Pedagogy and Practice
  • Policy and Leadership: Comparative Studies
  • Learning Environments and Communities: Design Processes and Digital Technologies

Sustainable Communities

The Centre for Sustainable Communities (CSC) aims to contribute to sustainable social, cultural and economic development by providing research and professional development services to communities, government and the private sector.

Our strengths are collaborative and participatory research in regional and community development in both local and international contexts. The Centre's research highlights learning and development beyond formal education, in community and organisational settings and contexts where informal learning is significant. We are interested in how this perspective can contribute to the adaptation of formal institutions to the contemporary challenges of social and cultural change.

Rural Education and Communities

The Rural Education & Communities research group leads research focused on empowering rural schools and their communities. With a focus upon the sustainability of rural communities we aim to make a lasting contribution to both theoretical and practical developments in rural education research. Situated within rural sociology, the sociology of knowledge, educational sociology and social justice the Rural Education & Communities research group is informed by the spatial turn in social theory and sustainability.

Our work has the following core themes:

  • Rurality
  • Space, place & spatial justice (social justice)
  • Rural Regional Sustainability
  • Rural standpoint methodologies

ARC DECRA project: Engaging Rural Knowledges for Sustainable Futures: Spatial Justice and Rural Schooling

Developing approaches to enhance farmer water management skills in Pakistan

Funded by ACIAR and led by Dr Sandra Heaney-Mustafa, this project aims to help farmers manage irrigation better on small and middle-sized irrigated farms. Irrigation is critical to Pakistan's food security, reducing poverty and developing its economy, but its irrigation is amongst the least profitable in the world. Studies have found that improved irrigation systems and management practices make irrigation more profitable. The main challenges are to scale out existing and new technologies over Pakistan's vast irrigated areas, and to develop farmers' skills and capacity to manage and maintain profitable irrigation systems. Extension approaches to farming in Pakistan have occurred through the traditional top-down, expert-to-farmer approach and the interactive Farmer Field School (FFS) approach. These methods while effective for the farmers involved have not been scaled out to the 60 million small farmers in Pakistan. Thus an essential part of the project was to develop a farmer to farmer learning model which is both effective and sustainable. Three adult learning methods were trialed and evaluated and a new model Farmer Integrated Learning Model (FILM) was arrived at and is now being used by both women and men farmers to work with other farmers to improve their irrigation and water management skills.

Meet our Leading Researchers

Prof Barbara Pamphilon AM
Associate Director, Centre for Sustainable Communities (CSC)
Research interests: community engagement; community development; collaborative approaches with developing countries.
Full profile
T: +61 2 6201 2323

Prof Thomas Lowrie
Centenary Research Professor Faculty of Education
Research interests: learning and education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Full profile
T: +61 2 6201 2568

Prof Moosung Lee
Centenary Research Professor, Faculty of Education
Research interests: Leadership, learning and development; achievement gaps and education for socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
Full profile
T: +61 2 6201 2583

Associate Prof Philip Roberts
Associate Professor, Curriculum Inquiry / Rural Education Faculty of Education
Research interests: Education in non-metropolitan areas, the Spatial distribution of curriculum access and achievement, rural knowledges and how teachers situate the curriculum in the communities they serve.

ARC DECRA project: Engaging Rural Knowledges for Sustainable Futures: Spatial Justice and Rural Schooling

Full profile
T: +61 2 6206 8625