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Early Career Researcher Network

The BERA Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network aims to offer support to those who are in the process of completing their masters or doctorate in education, as well as those who have completed their studies within the past 5 years. It seeks to meet the needs of not only those who are pursuing studies and/or careers as researchers within Higher Education, but also those who are practitioners seeking to undertake research to support their development.

In line with BERA’s strategic priority to increase capacity within the field, the principal objectives of the ECR Network are to provide opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) to engage with their peers to develop their knowledge and skills; to network and collaborate; and to be connected with BERA and the broader academic community within education. The ECR Network accomplishes this in a number of ways, from targeted correspondence with ECRs – including its termly newsletters, routine features within Research Intelligence, and a dedicated Twitter account (@BERA_ECRNetwork) – to events designed specifically to meet the needs of this community, such as the Network’s annual symposia series and writing for publication workshops. The ECR Network also provides bursaries to enable ECRs to access developmental opportunities – such as the Event Funding Scheme – as well as offering awards to recognise the exemplary work that is undertaken within the field, including the Masters Dissertation Award and Doctoral Thesis Award.

Twitter: @BERA_ECRNetwork


Network Convenors

Oliver Hooper, Dr

Research Associate at Loughborough University

Dr. Oliver Hooper is a Research Associate within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, having graduated with a PhD from the same institution in 2018. Oliver’s research explores young people’s...

Yuwei Xu, Dr

Research Fellow in Early Years and Teacher Education at UCL Institute of Education

Dr Yuwei Xu is a research fellow & lecturer in teacher and early years education at the UCL Institute of Education, and a Convenor of the BERA Early Career Researcher Network. With a PhD in gender and early childhood studies gained from the...

Gihan Ismail

University of Bath

Gihan Ismail is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and a Convenor of the BERA Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network. She is a final-year PhD researcher in education at the University of Bath. Gihan has a research interest in the...

Regional Reps

Tracey Hughes

University of Stirling

Tracey Hughes is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for Scotland.

Helen Foster-Collins

University of Exeter

Helen Foster-Collins is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the South of the United Kingdom

Sin-Wang Chong, Dr

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at Queen's University Belfast

Sin-Wang Chong is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for Northern Ireland. Dr. Sin-Wang Chong is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in TESOL in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast...

Brittany Wright

University of Nottingham

Brittany Wright is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the Midlands. Brittany Wright is an ESRC-funded doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. Her research explores women’s experiences of...

Rebekah Ackroyd

University of Cumbria

Rebekah Ackroyd is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the North of England. Rebekah is a doctoral student at the University of Cumbria. Her research looks at how tolerance and mutual respect are understood and promoted by...

Yan Zhu

Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Bath Spa University

Yan is the ECR Regional Rep for Wales. Yan is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Bath Spa University. She teaches modules around children’s voices, research methods, and internationalisation of childhood studies. Before joining Bath Spa...

Content associated with this SIG

Early Career Researcher Career Development Fellowship

Closes 2 Jul 2021

The Fellowship is a flexible package of benefits intended to support ECRs in the first three years following completion of their doctorate, focusing in particular on those who are insecurely and...


BERA 2021 Undergraduate Award

Closes 25 Jun 2021

This award is for recent graduates who have completed their undergraduate degree in a field related to educational research.