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Research activity in St Mary’s University College Belfast takes place within two academic disciplines, namely Education and Politics & International Studies, with a focus on the themes of teacher education and pupil learning as well as international studies.
Five research centres/groups reflect the particular research interests of their members and provide a forum for academic activity in relation to those interests. Academic staff who become affiliated to one or more of the associated centres/groups share the opportunity as a collective to shape and contribute to the configuration, organisation and programme of activities within each of them. Members of each centre/group take forward their plans in consultation with a Senior Tutor (Development) who coordinates and oversees the implementation of the College's research model.
The five research centres/groups include:


  • Centre for Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
  • Centre for Global Justice
  • Irish-medium Research Centre
  • Research Group for Catholic Education
  • STEAM Research Centre

Members of academic staff may be affiliated to more than one centre/group. This is particularly appropriate where, for example, research bridges different areas of expertise. The College's research model facilitates research across themes, increasing the potential for interdisciplinary and collaborative research.

Teacher Education and Pupil Learning

Research on the theme of teacher education and pupil learning encompasses work across a range of disciplines and curricular areas and seeks to enhance the field of study, the growth of knowledge, as well as a critical understanding of issues of contemporary concern and relevance in education. Recent research projects, dissemination and output on the theme of teacher education and pupil learning include:


  • Teaching Heaney’s ‘Troubles’ Poetry to Upper-Secondary School Pupils in Northern Ireland’s Divided Schools - Some Explorations
  • Tell Children a Story, Show Them the World
  • ‘Professionalism’ and the Governance of Teacher Education - A Northern Irish Perspective
  • Research on the Educational Outcomes of Pre-school Irish-medium Pupils
  • Report on Models of Irish-medium Schools
  • Gnéithe den Ghaeilge a labhair Seán Bán Mac Grianna as Rann na Feirste
  • Ireland and Vatican II - Theological, Pastoral and Educational
  • Pilib Ministir alias Parson Brady - Saol agus Saothar
  • Evangelise Today - Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ
  • STEM Teacher Training Innovation for Gender Balance
  • Piloting Art Science Collaboration in Secondary Education
  • STEM in Primary Education - The Microbot Project


Academic staff participate in a wide variety of national and international research projects in teacher education and pupil learning, covering various themes and designs and using many different methodologies. These projects engage with teachers and pupils in schools, lecturers and students in higher education, and key stakeholders in various educational agencies. The College’s educational research is disseminated nationally and internationally. The College’s growing reputation for educational research has led to increased collaboration with academics from a range of higher education institutions in Ireland, Great Britain and Europe.

International Studies

Research on the theme of international studies encompasses work in development studies and economic policy, international political philosophy, global ethics and human rights, as well as the cultural representation of minority identities, migration and the exile experience. Recent research dissemination and output on the theme of international studies include:


  • Border Education - Space, Memory and Reflections on Transculturality
  • The Renewal of Mandates - The 2014 European Election in Northern Ireland
  • After the War - Identity, Human Rights and Commemoration
  • Liveable Lives and Grievable Deaths - Theorizing the Body in Global Politics
  • International Studies and the Widening Participation Agenda in Higher Education


The configuration of themes and research centres/groups, presented in the College's research model, provides academic staff with direction, motivation and a supportive network to maximise research outcomes. These areas of research involve a number of diverse research questions and investigative designs and are approached from a range of perspectives. The majority of researchers employ analytical methods to investigate, for example, archival material and texts, while others adopt a social science approach.

The Research Office

The College's Research Office produces research newsletters in each academic year outlining successes and achievements in research activity by academic members of staff:

Research Newsletter Issue 16 (Mar 2017 - Aug 2017)

Research Newsletter Issue 15 (Sep 2016 - Feb 2017)

Research Newsletter Issue 14 (Mar 2016 - Aug 2016)

Research Newsletter Issue 13 (Sep 2015 - Feb 2016)

Research Newsletter Issue 12 (Mar 2015 - Aug 2015)

Research Newsletter Issue 11 (Sep 2014 - Feb 2015)

Research Newsletter Issue 10 (Mar 2014 - Aug 2014)

Research Newsletter Issue 9 (Sep 2013 - Feb 2014)

Research Newsletter Issue 8 (Mar 2013 - Aug 2013)

Research Newsletter Issue 7 (Sep 2012 - Feb 2013)

Research Newsletter Issue 6 (May - Aug 2012)

Research Newsletter Issue 5 (Jan - Apr 2012)

Research Newsletter Issue 4 (Sep - Dec 2011)

Research Newsletter Issue 3 (May - Aug 2011)

Research Newsletter Issue 2 (Jan - Apr 2011)

Research Newsletter Issue 1 (Sep - Dec 2010)