Research Excellence Award in the School of Education

Thursday, 20 July 2017

John Henry Brookes Building

Professor Graham Butt discusses his recent Research Excellence Award in the School of Education

"As a recipient of one of the Oxford Brookes Research Excellence Awards - which were launched last year to support research-active academics and to help deliver the university's Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy (2016-2020) - I believe it is important to promote the huge rewards and benefits of the scheme.

The funding I received from the university (in my case £10k) has enabled me to spend more time, over the course of a semester, to undertake research for a book which presents an assessment of the development of research in geography education. The book - Geography Education Research: Retrospect and Prospect - aims to address the persistent questions of concern to geography educationists regarding how to teach geography, and why the subject matters in our rapidly changing world. 

I believe that over the next few years the form, function and state of education research will alter radically, including research into the changing nature of subject-based education in schools. It has therefore been timely to undertake a comprehensive and realistic (re) assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing (geography) education research. The book is set within the context of current and ongoing debates about education policy in England, and further afield. I feel that its relevance is particularly high, given the recent re-shaping of teacher education and professional development in many national jurisdictions, with associated effects on subject-based education and its research.

Radical and wide-ranging in its scope, this work will ultimately acknowledge the emergent status of much research in subject-based-education, the rather insecure nature of all education research, and whether in the future such research will even be located in university schools of education. I expect to have the whole project completed in 2018.

The Research Excellence Award has enabled me to dedicate much needed additional time to research and publication. Its generous funding has facilitated the whole process - not only in terms of travel and engagement with other academics, but also in covering aspects of the 'day job' while the work has been undertaken. I would strongly encourage others to apply!"