Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Higher education, inclusion, leadership and management, technology for teaching and learning, SDGs Education

Willing to speak to media


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Cristina Devecchi is an Associate Professor and Co-director of the Centre for Education and Research where she is responsible for the PhD programme and PhD admissions. Before joining the University of Northampton, Cristina taught Italian and English to adults and young children in the UK and abroad and worked as a Teaching Learning Support Assistant in a secondary school. She gained an MEd in Special and Inclusive Education, MPhil in Educational Research and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She currently supervises 18 PhD students using a variety of methodological approaches and researching diverse topics within education. She is the Chair of the Business and Education Research Degree Board and a member of the Faculty of Health, Education and Society's Research and Enterprise Committee, where she co-leads the Centre for Education and Research.

She has collaborated as a researcher and Principal Investigator to a number of projects on a variety of topics related to inclusion. She has led on the EU funded project Success at School ( developing volunteering-based intervention to re-engage young people into education, and she was the UK lead for the Below 10 project, aiming at tackling school drop-out. She was Principal Investigator on the Leading Change Together project (, funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, looking at leadership and change management in UK Higher Education; the FEASST@8 and SuCCEED@8 project, funded by the Institute for Learning and Teaching, focusing on developing discipline-based training at PhD level, and the TECH4ALL projects focused on developing digital skills for learning and teaching in higher education. She is currently involved in a project looking at effective organisational communication.

Cristina is a reviewer for a number of journals, and for the European Educational Research Association (EERA). She is on the editorial team of the DIRASAT: Eductional Sciences journal published by the Univeersity of Jordan. She was a research associate at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge and she was a coordinator of the Education thematic group for the Human Development and Capability Association. She is the co-founder and chair of the Cambridge Education Alumni Group and the Future Focused Group looking at the use of technology for teaching and learning, research and social impact.

Research interests: Inclusion; educational leadership; Higher Education; Human resource and knowledge management; technology.



Kum, H. (2012) - Francophone African Refugees in the UK: Exclusionary Perceptions and Identity Conflict.

Rapti, S. (2013) Qualitative and quantitative differences in the reading performance between Greek language teachers and 12th grade pupils and between Adult Dyslexic and non-dyslexic students

Ellender, P. (2014) - Transfer to mainstream secondary school by children with special educational needs (SEN) Statements; what constitutes successful transition, and how is it achieved?

Bajwa-Patel, M. (2015) - Exploring the issue of parental choice and school placement for pupilswith a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) across the primary and secondary phases 

Dampson, D. (2015) Teacher participation in decision-making in Ghanaian basic schools. A study of Cape Coast municipality and Mfantseman district.

Barker, J. (2016) School Science technicians in role transition within policy, curricular and labour process contexts

Kentzer, N. (2018) The role of mentors in supporting trainee teachers in Further Education colleges

Hill, G. (2018) Problem solving in Computer Science Teaching (by publications)

Smith, A. (2018) Investigating the professional status of the newly appointed Special Educational Needs Coordinator

Batchelor, E. (2019) Primary school science coordinator talk: An examination of the nature of ‘talk’ between primary school science coordinators and trainee teachers (students) during a teaching practice and its influence on learning to teach science

Stuart, K.  (2019) Evaluation of end of life care of frail older people within a community trust

Whewell, E. (2019) Primary PE teachers' self-image and professional identity

Hadawi, A. (2020) Managing organisational culture in a merged General Further Education College in England: A Case Study (DBA)

Watling, S. (2020) Digital shifts in teaching and learning: a qualitative study aimed at improving understanding of how staff conceptualise their digital practice in UK higher Education. (MPhil)

Carrington, P. A  (2020) NEET Ending - The impact of Adult Community Learning on supporting a young person who is Not in Employment, Education or Training on their journey to become an active democratic citizen (DBA)

Cartwright, N. (2020) Pedagogy and equality, specifically an assessment of the equality implications of Team-Based Learning through a case study (Director of Studies)

Preston, N. (2020) Restorative practices as an explicit framework to improve the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities (Director of Studies)

Bennett, S. (2022) The experience of dialogic interaction between observer and observee participants in online peer observation (Submitted, awaiting viva)

Bouacha, Nour El Houda (2022) - Teacher and learner evaluation of language teaching material in Algerian secondary schools

Jackson, E. (2022) The changing role of the Special Educational Needs Coordinators.

ElMestari S. (2022) EFL Teacher Leadership in Algerian universities 

Current PhD students

Charambalous-Darden, Nefi - Teachers’ perceptions on Inclusive Education for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Cyprus

Deeming, A. - Mental Health, Schools and Decision Making

Delgado Ezequiel - Informal Education: the role of teachers as leaders of a successful transition machinery from primary to secondary school. Investigating opinions, strategies and practices

Gourlay, G. An exploration of the development of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship education on Kazakhstan: case study of the Creative Spark programme

Gbedemah, H.- Examining the Application of International Human Rights’ Standards in Ghana for Non-Discriminatory Practices in Girls Secondary Education: The Impact of Discriminatory Disciplinary Measures

Irwin, W. - Social innovation and social entrepreneurship in Higher Education: systemic change in a Changemaker campus

Khan, H. Islamic perspective on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): challenges and experiences of caregivers of children with ASD in the Muslim community in an East Midlands city

Jolomba, P. A blended learning approach: using virtual reality to train clinicians and patients

Loddick, A. - An investigation to improve student engagement with Learning Development in higher education (Director of Studies)

Marshall, C. The value of choice in the FE classroom: an investigation into the relationship between autonomy, critical thinking and innovation.

McCarthy, E. - Laying firm foundations for effective inclusive practice in early year’s settings in Ireland: professional development as a keystone to building capacity within the ECCE sector (Director of Studies)

Ravindranath, S. An investigation into the nature and extent to which methods taught during Montessori teacher training in Bangalore are applied by teachers in Montessori and mainstream schools. (Director of Studies)

Sharp, S.- Mental health and wellbeing in Higher Education

Sturman-Coombs, R. Constructing and scaffolding intuition: how do academics define intuition and enable students to harness and foster intuitive thinking

Westley, L. - How do trainee teachers' perception of mathematics change through the course of initial teacher training? (Director of Studies)


Other Responsibilities


Chair (2014-present)

Business and Education Research Degree Board


Chair (2017-2019)

Readers, Associate Professors and Professors (RAPP) Group


Co-Director (2017- present)

Centre for Education and Research


Co-Lead (2021-present)

Further, Higher and Adult Education Special Interest Group

Centre for Education and Research


PhD Coordinator

Faculty of Education and Humanities  (2017-2019)


Level 8 Lead (Education)

Faculty of Health, Education and Society (2019- present)


Member of University Committees

  • Research Degree Committee (2013 - present)
  • Research and Enterprise Committee (2013 - present)
  • Faculty Research and Enteprise Committee (2013 - present)
  • Academic Senate (2012-2016; 2019-present)


Member of Working Groups

  • PGR Teaching Opportunities (Lead on behalf of the Research Degree Committee)
  • PGR mental health and wellbeing


Deputy Research Leader (2013-2016)

Centre for Education and Research, School of Education


Co-founder of the Future Focused Group, University of Northampton, (2018- 2020)

External Roles

  • Advisory Board member - Editorial team - DIRASAT: Educational Sciences
  • Editor in Chief (2017-2018) – Efficiency Exchange
  • Expert Evaluator – H2020, SwafS programme (Science with and for Society) (2018-present)
  • Expert Evaluator and international advisory board member (teaching and learning) – Excellent Department project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research – Faculty of Philosophy and Education, University of Turin, Italy (2019-2022)
  • Advisory panel member: InDEEP project, University of Padova
  • Advisory panel member: Capitals Framework project (2021-present)
  • External examiner: MEd programme, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland (2019-present)
  • Peer reviewer – ‘Theme 5: How higher education institutions respond to COVID-19, build resilience through research and knowledge creation, and find solutions to global challenges’ - Association of Commonwealth Universities & Commonwealth Secretariat (Current)

Teaching Interests

  • Social Sciences research methods and methodologies
  • Inclusion (particularly inclusion in Higher Education)
  • Leadership and management in Higher Education
  • PhD supervision and career development

Other Responsibilities

Co-Coordinator, Education Thematic Group, Human Development and Capability Association (2013-2015)

Member of the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge (2006-2010)

Research Interests

Higher education, Teaching and learning in higher education, Inclusion, EDI, PhD related policies and practice, digital technologies

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Teachers and teaching assistants working together: collaboration, support and inclusion in a secondary school, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 12 Oct 2007

MPhil, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 12 Oct 2007

Master, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 10 Oct 2003

Bachelor, Universita degli Studi di Torino

Award Date: 1 Jul 1989

External positions

Peer reviewer – ‘Theme 5: How higher education institutions respond to COVID-19, build resilience through research and knowledge creation, and find solutions to global challenges’, Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

Jun 2020 → …

External Examiner - MEd Programme, Trinity College Dublin

Dec 2019 → …

Expert Evaluator and international advisory board member (teaching and learning) – Excellent Department project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research – Faculty of Philosophy and Education, University of Turin

Aug 2019 → …

Expert Evaluator – H2020, SwafS programme (Science with and for Society), European Commission

2018 → …

ILAS Fellow, Keele University


Advisory panel member: InDEEP project, University of Padua


Member of the Laboratorio di Pedagogia Speciale, Università Foro Italico, Rome


  • L Education (General)
  • inclusion
  • leadership and management
  • teaching and learning
  • higher education
  • professional identity
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • disability
  • special educational needs
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • methodology
  • Social justice
  • Development


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