Led by Dr Sonia Ilie, at FairLab we research higher education access and success in a life course perspective. 

We focus on inequality and its consequences in education for young people, students, teachers, practitioners, and the wider society.

We mostly carry out large-scale quantitative research and have specific expertise in secondary data analysis, randomised controlled trials, and working with administrative data to answer policy-relevant questions. 

We are as interested in long-term inequality trends as we are in discovering the impact of specific programmes and interventions, and understanding personal experiences in navigating progression towards, and transitions into and out of, higher education. 

We build evidence to inform the work of practitioners in schools and colleges, outreach and widening participation, higher education institutions, and those making education policy.

There are three strands to our work.


Click on each strand below to see research projects


Evaluations of higher education accesss, school outreach, and student success initiatives, using (quasi-) experimental designs and process-focused methods

Trends and patterns

Research on experiences and outcomes in schools, further education, and higher education, often using secondary data analysis and longitudinal surveys

Institutional research

Work carried out in collaboration withh specific institutions and building evidence for local policies to improve student access, experience and outcomes

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