At the nexus of learning and innovation


We aim to create a worldleading centre for interdisciplinary research on learning and innovation:
one capable of attracting and connecting outstanding researchers, to pioneer new methods for understanding and improving learning and its outcomes.

Purpose and Approach

CRLI provides a focus for the university’s research on learning and innovation. In addition to conducting fundamental research on learning, the centre investigates educational innovation, including processes and structures which improve the connections between research on learning, sustainable educational innovation and the enhancement of learning outcomes. Its remit also includes researching processes of innovation and change outside formal education, whenever such change involves a significant element of individual, group, organisational or community learning. The centre thereby provides an intellectual home for all staff and students interested in researching learning, innovation and change - in formal education and also in workplace and community settings.

Methodological innovation will be a core activity for the centre. This reflects a conviction that the speed and complexity of change in the world demand new forms of inquiry that can connect evidence to action in a timely way. So the centre will develop new methods for linking research and practice.

It will forge close, long-term relationships with a small number of major partner organisations: users of, and sites for, our research. Through fostering ongoing, deep engagement with such partners, the centre will help staff and research students develop their abilities to carry out research which has a clear path to utilisation and to publication in the best journals.

In studying learning and innovation, the centre will advance the field of coordination science: the study of how coordination occurs in the brain, between brain and body, between indviduals and their (technology-rich) environment, in groups, in organisations and networks. Learning can be seen as an increase in coordination at multiple levels, and between multiple levels. Furthermore, we believe that research in this area will greatly benefit from increased coordination between researchers from different disciplines - coordination of efforts, and also of theoretical concepts, epistemic orientations and methodological advances

The leading centres for research on learning in North America and Europe typically involve 50-100 research staff and PhD students. Visibility on the world stage demands critical mass. More significant, though, is the growing complexity of research on learning – requiring interdisciplinary collaborations and the integration of methods and models from diverse sources, including, for example, advanced data mining, visualisation, design anthropology and neuroscience. Attracting the world’s best PhD students and maintaining partnerships with leading academic research teams overseas requires working at scale.