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DCU Institute of Education

Research Centres and Groups

The following are a collection of research centres and groups that staff in the Institute of Education are involved in:

Anti-Bullying Centre

ABC LogoThe National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) was launched by the Tánaiste and the Minister for Education & Skills in 2014. The Centre also received recognition from the United Nations. Since it was founded ABC has led the field of research in school and workplace bullying in Ireland and is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in bullying research. Researchers at the Centre were the first in Ireland to undertake research on school bullying, workplace bullying, homophobic bullying and cyeberbullying. The Centre is a strategic partner with the Norwegian Centre for Learning Environment and Behavioural Research in Education.
ABC Director: Dr James O'Higgins Norman


CASTeL logoCASTeL CASTeL, the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning is multidisciplinary research team focused on enhancing science and mathematics education at all educational levels, supported by evidence-based research and contributing to international good practice. CASTeL members, comprising of scientists, mathematicians and educationalists from Dublin City University, lead and participate in formal and informal STEM education projects, nationally and internationally, which are focussed on inquiry based science teaching, learning and assessment.
CASTeL Director: Dr Eilish McLoughlin 

Centre for Assessment Research and Policy in Education


CARPE, based at the Institute of Education, St Patrick’s Campus, Drumcondra, is supported by a grant from Prometric to Dublin City University. The centre was established to enhance the practice of assessment across all levels of the educational system, from early childhood to fourth level and beyond.  Work at CARPE is focused on conducting high quality research and professional development in assessment, as well as establishing global networks and contributing to assessment policy making. If you are an educator, test developer, policy-maker, academic or research student interested in assessment please feel free to contact us.
CARPE Director: Prof Michael O'Leary

Centre for Evaluation, Quality & Inspection (EQI)

EQI logoEQI is a research centre specialising in the evaluation of educational policies, programmes and personnel. Evaluation involves research to make data informed judgments about organisational and professional performance. Our work encompasses schools, other learning centres and the wider public service. It is primarily concerned with governance and accountability mechanisms including quality assurance processes, school inspection and organisational self evaluation. We also undertake evaluations of educational programmes and projects. EQI is a multidisciplinary research group with a diverse membership drawn from within DCU, from schools and other educational institutions within Ireland and abroad and from a range of other organisations.
EQI is co-ordinated by Prof Gerry McNamara and Prof Joe O'Hara

Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education

CHRCE logoThe Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education, champions educational policy and practice promoting human rights, childrens’ rights, global justice and environmental sustainability. Established in 2004, the Centre specialises in research, resource creation and professional development which furthers good practice in relation to global and local citizenship and human rights education. The Centre’s expertise extends across early childhood, primary, post-primary and third level education including teacher education. Committed to creative, cutting-edge and collaborative approaches, both in terms of pedagogy and research methodology, the Centre draws on the varied expertise of its members, steering committee, university context and national and international partnerships. Hosting the EU funded Global Schools partnership and the Irish Aid funded Development and Intercultural Education project, and working with governmental and non-governmental organisations, teachers and schools, the Centre is at the forefront of developments in human rights and global citizenship education both in Ireland and internationally.
CHRCE Director: Brian Ruane

Centre for Research Across Teacher Education (CREATE21)

CREATE21 logoCREATE21 marks the coming together of the Centre for Excellence in Post Primary Teacher Education (CEPPTE) at the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the CREATE programme at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra. CREATE21 is based at the DCU Institute of Education.

The Centre aims to drive research into the continuum of teacher education, to disseminate this research, and to draw on the research to ensure teacher education is subjected to sustained critique and innovation and to inform policy development, pedagogy and programme development.

There are currently over 30 research projects at various stages of completion and which fall into six over-arching themes.
CREATE21 Director: Dr PJ Sexton

Educational Disadvantage Centre

EDC logoEDC is located within the University's Institute of Education, the Centre's purpose is to highlight the implications of social and economic exclusion on education across education and related sectors in Ireland and internationally.

The Centre's mission is to promote equality in education and to contribute to the shaping of teacher education, so that the cycle of socio-economic and educational exclusion is broken. The Centre aims to contribute to best practice in national and international policy and practice regarding social inclusion and equality in education.
EDC Director: Dr Paul Downes 

Further Education and Training Research Centre (FETRC)

FETRC logoFETRC’s Mission is to 'engage with research at all levels to help influence the overall strategic direction of the further education and training sector in Ireland and ensure that policy and practice is driven by evidence based research'. Some important developments in F/VET in Ireland suggest the need to move this work to an altogether higher level and in effect to develop a research capacity in the area capable of informing innovation across the sector at both regional and national level. These new developments include reformed structures in the form of SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and the increasingly important national and EU wide qualifications and quality assurance frameworks. All of this is occurring in the context of high levels of youth unemployment, skills deficits holding back economic growth and the need for innovative approaches to the content and processes of education and training including work based learning and new forms of assessment. The urgency and importance of this work was demonstrated recently by the EU Council of Ministers decision to include some six billion euro in the budget between now and 2020 devoted to initiatives to tackle youth unemployment.
FETRC Director: Dr Justin Rami

Higher Education Research Centre

HERC logoIn 2010 HERC became Ireland’s first university based research centre to focus explicitly on issues of higher education and lifelong learning. Located in the office of DCU’s Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Registrar, HERC grew out of the interdisciplinary research network LEARN (Learning Education and Academic Research Network). In 2016, HERC became a formally affiliated Research Centre of DCU's newly established Institute of Education.

HERC's objectives reflect those of DCU’s Strategic Plan (PDF) which aims to address "real world problems" and to transform “lives and societies through education, research and innovation". In line with the international field, HERC conducts interdisciplinary research drawing on sociology, psychology, organizational theory, communications, policy studies and education.

International Centre for Innovation and Workplace Learning (ICIWL)

ICIWLICIWL - The Centre seeks to collaborate with and empower practitioner-researchers in making explicit their implicit knowledge and strives to encourage actions based upon wise and considered practice. It aims to explore the enabling capacity of digital technologies through the fostering of a reflective and entrepreneurial approach in practitioner researchers. It is interested in the innovative use of technologies in a range of workplace contexts, including development education. Action research and participatory research approaches are promoted in order to support personal and professional change and organisational development.
Contact: Dr Margaret Farren and Dr Yvonne Crotty

Irish Centre for Religious Education

ICRE logoNew questions concerning religious education arise in every generation at local, national, and global levels. Such questions about the identity and function of religious education are especially relevant in contemporary Ireland. In this context the Irish Centre for Religious Education (ICRE) seeks to support research, partnership, and innovation in the field of religious education in an open and creative manner.

The ICRE is committed to good practice in teaching, learning, and research in the field of religious education. It embraces an interdisciplinary approach encouraging education, philosophy, theology, religious studies, and the humanities in general, to engage in their own conversation with religious education and together dialogue around themes significant for religious education and for society.

The ICRE is interested in a wide variety of subjects related to religious education, including but not limited to: religion and society, the nature and function of religious education, religious education, education, and the humanities, religious education and faith development, lifelong religious education, and religious education and schooling. In this way it hopes to contribute to the development of the teaching of religion and beliefs, and therefore to personal development, social cohesion, and active citizenship.
ICRE Director: Dr Gareth Byrne 

RCE Dublin

RCE Dublin logoThe United Nations University (UNU) acknowledged the Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development for the greater Dublin area (RCE Dublin on ESD) in March 2013. RCE Dublin is coordinated by DCU. The Director of RCE Dublin is Dr Charlotte Holland. RCE Dublin has six projects that will be implemented in the greater Dublin area from 2014-2018:

  • Project 1 is ‘Green Teen Transitions’, which aims to enable youth transitions towards further education and/ or employment, through the use of a blended online model of learning and an internship programme.
  • Project 2 centres on a schools’ competition within the theme of ‘What-if: Disaster Mitigation’, making use of social media in a problem-based learning context.
  • Project 3 creatively examines urban sustainability through the lens of Irish literature, and uses ‘World Café’ style forums to ‘crowd-source’ solutions to sustainability issues.
  • Project 4 uses innovative means, such as foraging competitions, to help map indigenous horticultural practices that support bio-diversity, sustainable consumption and eco-management within the built environment.
  • Project 5 and Project 6 involve the design, delivery and evaluation of two blended online course within the themes of Ethical Sustainability and the Earth Charter for students within primary, post-primary and higher education.

These projects centre on the promotion of authentic and transformative learning experiences, with action projects that enable change agency towards sustainability within the RCE Dublin region.