View all news

ESRC Future Research Leaders Diversity Effect Project

6 April 2017

In 2016, the Graduate School of Education’s Dr Shelley McKeown Jones was awarded a prestigious ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant. The two-year project, which started in January 2017, aims to conduct research which integrates psychological, educational and geographical perspectives on diversity in order to inform interventions to promote positive outcomes for youth in Bristol and other diverse societies.

As a social psychologist, Shelley is particularly interested in understanding and improving intergroup relations in diverse and conflict societies. Drawing on her previous research in Northern Ireland and working under the premise of intergroup contact theory, this project is particularly concerned with under what conditions ethnic and racial diversity is associated with social cohesion and educational achievement. It will establish what can be done to intervene and promote more positive outcomes for all learners.

To achieve this, the research team will work with four secondary schools in Bristol to design and implement the project. This will involve distributing a series of quantitative survey measures and conducting observations over the period of a school year, as well as working with teachers to design a contextually relevant and practice informed intervention.

The project is unique in its interdisciplinary perspective, its combination of theory and methods and in its approach to work closely with stakeholders, including academics, local primary and secondary school teachers, head teachers and Bristol City Council to ensure maximum research impact to both academic and non-academic beneficiaries.

Shelley is working on the project with Jaysan Charlesford (as Research Associate) and is currently preparing for pilot data collection.

To learn more and to keep up to date with the project, visit the project website ( and follow the project Twitter account (@diversity_ESRC), or get in touch with Shelley (

Edit this page