I am currently involved in two main research projects.
There are over 35 million students within Europe and yet, to date, we have no clear understanding of the extent to which understandings of ‘the student’ are shared. This project (which runs from 2016-2021, funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant) thus investigates how the contemporary higher education student is conceptualised and the extent to which this differs both within nation-states and across them. This is significant in terms of implicit (and sometimes explicit) assumptions that are made about common understandings of ‘the student’ across Europe – underpinning, for example, initiatives to increase cross-border educational mobility and the wider development of a European Higher Education Area. It is also significant in relation to exploring the extent to which understandings are shared within a single nation and, particularly, the degree to which there is congruence between the ways in which students are conceptualised within policy texts and by policymakers, and the understandings of other key social actors, such as the media, higher education institutions and students themselves. You can read more about the project here.
Enablers and constraints of equal or primary caring among UK fathers and the realities of such care
Secondly, I am working with my colleague Paul Hodkinson at the University of Surrey on a project about fathers who have taken on substantial responsibilities for caring for young children. By interviewing around 20 fathers who are equal or primary carers for children age 3 or under, we hope to develop a better understanding of the circumstances that enable and constrain equal or primary caring among UK fathers, and provide an in-depth analysis of the everyday realities of such care. This is funded by a pump-priming grant from the University of Surrey.