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Our research

Our research is structured around four thematic clusters, that represent our core areas of research excellence. The boundaries between them are fluid, with several staff members linked to more than one cluster. This structure fosters coherence within research teams, and facilitates collaboration between clusters and with other institutions. The four research clusters are:

  • Brain and Cognitive Development
  • Cognitive Modelling
  • Perception, Attention, Action and Emotion
  • Health and Lived Experience.

The departmental research centres and labs provide physical and intellectual spaces for our staff and students to undertake research across and within our main themes. The centres and labs have their own websites, outlined below, which provide more detail about their current research, facilities and people.

Our department is highly research active and successful in winning grants from funders in the UK and internationally, among others these include: the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission. A selection of our current research projects is outlined below and further details are available via our centre and lab websites. Our academics research expertise is summarised in the experts' database.

Research centres

Research projects

Labs and research teams

Research Partners

We work with national and international research partners across different sectors to generate new knowledge which leads to changes in understanding, policy and practice. These collaborations support our long term strategy to develop interdisciplinary excellence in those areas where we are world-leading. Partnerships have played a key role in developing our offer to doctoral students. We have ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) status along with other London and Bloomsbury-based universities. We are also part of the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme (LiDo) DTP as well as the UCL-Birkbeck MRC DTP. Our Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (CBCD) was awarded a European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme by the European Commission.

Current and recent partnerships include academic collaborations with UK universities such as the University of Oxford, UCL, the University of Glasgow, The Institute of Education, the University of Cambridge, the University of Lancaster, Kings College London, the University of East London, SOAS and the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine. Internationally, we are currently partners with universities including the University of Warsaw, Ghent University, Uppsala University, Utrecht University and Istituto Superiore di Sanita, along with many others. As well as academic partnerships we co-produce knowledge with non-academic organisations including government organisations, charities, private corporations, NGOs, schools and heritage organisations. Examples of recent and current partners include Learnus, the Department for Education, Proctor and Gamble, Tobii, Artinis, EGI, Autism Europe, the Science Museum, SOFAR (Supporting Outstanding Female Academics and Researchers), NSPCC, Breast Cancer Now, CoramBAAF, Autistica, the Education Endowment Foundation and the World Bank.

Research news and blogs

Departmental Impact

Our department produces internationally impactful research that influences policy, understanding, culture and practice in health, education, corporate settings and beyond. We work closely with research partners from non-academic organisations and engage with government and policy makers to communicate our research, ensuring that it brings long term societal benefits. In the last REF (2014) our department was awarded a 4* rating, recognising the impact our research has had on different areas of social life. The case studies that we submitted to this assessment are available on our College website and cover the following topics: Communicating developmental research to parents worldwide; Early years experience and development; Interventions for vulnerable mothers; and Using Eyetracking in Art Restoration.

Facilitating and developing impact is an integral part of our department's research strategy. The departmental Impact Officer supports decision-making around impact and promotes the understanding of impact through training and development. There is a department-wide focus on communication and coherence within and between our research clusters to maximise opportunities for synergy and innovation, as the basis for producing impactful and beneficial research. Research impact is also embedded within the research life cycle across the department. Since 2014 our research has shown impact and emerging impact through our applied research projects and the work of our centres and clusters, including: the IPA Research Group (IPARG), the Health and Lived Experience cluster, the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings Study (BASIS), the Toddler Attentional Behaviours and Learning with Touch-screen (TABLET) project, the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP), the Centre for Educational Neuroscience (CEN), The Integrative Centre for Building Resilience in Breast Cancer (BRiC) and the Streamline Diagnostic Accuracy Studies.

Our submission to REF 2021 includes three impact case studies that highlight the contributions by our colleagues to policy, legislation, practice and understanding. These case studies are currently undergoing assessment as part of REF 2021 but should become publicly available in 2022.

More information