Research-informed teaching

Although research and teaching are both core business of universities, historically, students have not participated in research until their capstone dissertation and post-graduate studies. However, recent interest in exploring the benefits of using research as a pedagogy has found that there are many links to be made between research and teaching and that these provide valuable participatory and active learning experiences for students.

One of the leading figures in this area is Professor Mick Healey who suggest that research-teaching links can be usefully conceptualised as:

  • research tutored
  • research based
  • research led
  • research orientated.

Research-informed teaching at Plymouth University

Plymouth University is committed to enhancing the link between research in the disciplines, professions and teaching:

"We nurture student learning and the researchers of tomorrow by excelling in research-informed teaching , providing undergraduate opportunities in research, and supporting our postgraduate and PhD students and early career researchers" Plymouth Strategy 2020

Our research informed teaching scheme ran between 2006-2010. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to encourage closer links between research and teaching activities, the scheme was co-ordinated by Educational Development. 

Over 40 projects spanned a wide spectrum of disciplines and themes, including:

  • collaborative research
  • research skill development
  • course development
  • learning environments
  • teaching materials
  • student publication and dissemination
  • student placements
  • technology-enhanced learning. 

The educational development contact for research informed teaching is Dr Jennie Winter.


Educational Development reviewed the scheme in 2010 and produced a report of the findings: Executive Summary below.


As a result of the Educational Development report (2010) a series of discipline based resources tailored to the Plymouth context were developed. You can access these here:

The scheme also founded the first Plymouth student e-journal. The Plymouth Student Scientist publishes examples of successful honours dissertation work. It's hugely popular with students and provides useful teaching opportunities for staff. 

Useful websites

Oxford Brookes University - LTSN Generic Centre project: linking teaching and research in the disciplines. Includes links to the subject centres’ work in this area including Biosciences, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism, the Built Environment, GEES, Law, and Health.

The Higher Education Academy - A selective listing of international web-based sources and Academy initiatives. Supporting individuals, course teams, institutions and national systems wishing to link teaching and discipline-based research.

Active Learning Case Studies - Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) University of Gloucester. Provides detailed case studies of Active Learning methodologies from UK and overseas Higher Education institutions.

The Undergraduate Research Project - Provides HEIs and other stakeholders with a review of undergraduate research in the sector alongside examples of how to enhance this.

Professor Mick Healey's recent publications - Professor Healey has worked extensively linking discipline-based research and teaching and engaging students in research and inquiry.