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Through their access agreements, universities and colleges in England are investing millions of pounds in interventions and financial support to enable students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education.

Researching the experiences of marginalised and underrepresented learners can be the first step in transforming higher education institutions into more accessible, more equitable and more empowering spaces for learning.

“[We can] implement student-led research with students from specific WP backgrounds to analyse barriers they face to University”

Research conducted as part the Fair Access Research programme found a steady increase of institutions engaging in research in their access agreements research. If we want to realise and sustain a community of researchers within institutions and across the sector we need to support effective partnerships.


The national strategy for access and student success and OFFA’s evidence strategy and guidance make it clear that those working to widen participation need to work to build a community of researchers to help understand, reflect on and inform effective practice. This resource forms part of that community building.


Laura Campbell: Senior Lecturer, School of Communications and Marketing and Dr. Vanessa Heaslip: Principal Academic in Adult Nursing

To find out about more about the JISCMail groups Vanessa mentions, follow this link.

Things to think about:
Does your research align with a Union campaign or area of focus?
Do you want to engage students in the research process?
How could you embed evaluation in your projects and campaigns?
How can your maximise the impact of your work?
How are you going to ensure that your research transforms or informs policy and practice?


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