The future requires an educated workforce which is able to understand and work creatively with complex concepts to generate new ideas, new theories, new products, and new knowledge, supported through flexible and agile approaches to learning and engagement.

Teesside University has long been recognised for its innovative approach to education. We were one of the pioneers of higher and degree apprenticeships, and undertake ground-breaking work in the use of technology and e-learning to deliver specialist teaching in areas as diverse as forensic radiography and medical imaging to creative writing.

Our research in teaching and learning has gained international status and is published widely in academic journals and textbooks to support innovative and lifelong learning in a number of disciplines. Our work also extends to applications outside the higher education context such as contributing to the development of the EECities Platform to support on-line learning related to urban design (Horizon 2020)


Diverse research questions explored

Examples of some of the diverse research questions explored within this Grand Challenge theme are:

  • What will the future education system look like?
  • What is the role of education and educators in a future of Artificial Intelligence and instant access to information?
  • How can we best harness the power of information and communication technologies as learning tools?
  • What is the place of creativity in learning and how do we teach/develop it?
  • How do we break the links between prosperity and educational/employment outcomes?
  • What is the role of learning in the 'post-truth' era?


Our work in this challenge theme draws on and is informed by work and expertise across all parts of the University, which includes amongst others:

Education, childhood and youth studies, social policy, precarity and poverty, psychology and cognitive science, leadership and motivation, learning technologies, modelling and visualisation, artificial intelligence, disability, employability skills and professional development.


Research leads

Dr Ewan Ingleby

Dr Ewan Ingleby

Dr Ewan Ingleby is the co-convenor and chair of Teesside University’s Education and Work Based Learning Research Unit. Ewan is an elected member of the international committee of the International Professional Development Association and is currently working on an externally funded research project to help schools to develop a virtual learning platform. He has published in peer-reviewed education journals and national and international education conferences, and is a member of the editorial board for Research in Post Compulsory Education. Ewan has also published a number of books in early childhood studies and in the lifelong learning sector.

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Dr Sophie Nicholls

Dr Sophie Nicholls

Dr Sophie Nicholls is a successful academic, poet and a novelist with a background in learning technologies and instructional design. Sophie worked as a learning consultant for Reuters before undertaking her doctoral research (funded by AHRC) which investigated the cognitive and neuroscientific evidence for creative and expressive writing as a tool for personal development, health and well-being. Her research interests include the connections between writing, consciousness, developmental psychology, cognitive science and psychotherapeutic theory, and in hybrid pedagogies, open learning and educational resources and digital wellbeing. Sophie is co-founder of Creative Writing Lab, a research network for creative writing and wellbeing.

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Learning for the 21st century news

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Funding to boost university participation

Teesside University is part of an ambitious collaborative programme aiming to encourage more young people into higher education.

Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching). Link to Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

HEFCE supports experimental innovation in learning and teaching

Teesside University is among institutions to receive funding to work on innovative projects to enhance learning and teaching.