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29 January 2024

NIoT's Inaugural Research Agenda and Meta-Review on Professional Development

In a significant commitment to evidence-informed teacher development, the NIoT has published its first school-led research agenda and plans for an ambitious meta-review of existing research in the field.

The National Institute of Teaching’s Research Agenda

The National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) has published its inaugural research agenda, the eight research topics it will focus on for the next three years. The research agenda was developed through extensive consultations (published in our Closer to the Classroom report) with key stakeholders to ensure the topics would result in research findings teachers and school leaders would find useful.

Dr Calum Davey, Executive Director of Research at the National Institute of Teaching, said: “Research can help us deliver effective teacher education. We want to research topics that teachers, leaders, and teacher educators care about, which is why our research agenda was derived from a consultation with the sector.

Dr Davey continued to say: "Our school-led research agenda will steer the overall trajectory of our research, while we continue to stay close to the classroom in the design and execution of our projects. A collaborative approach ensures our research is useful, impactful, and trustworthy."

The research will aim to better understand what makes effective professional development, from initial teacher education through to the development of school and trust leaders. The school-led, eight-point agenda focuses on four areas:

  1. Meeting Professional Development Needs
  2. Understanding How Professional Development Has Impact
  3. The Practical Realities of Professional Development
  4. Linking Research and Practice

Read our Research Agenda: Our Research Agenda (2024 - 2027)

Meta-review in teacher education and professional development

In addition to asking the sector what questions about professional development need addressing, the NIoT will also be conducting a comprehensive review of the existing research via an ambitious meta-review on teacher education and professional development. As the field of education research continues to expand, the NIoT acknowledges the challenges faced by those navigating the abundance of information and want to make the existing research more easily discoverable and user-friendly.

The meta-review will simplify this process by generating three powerful tools:

  1. A living Library: A searchable, up-to-date database of all relevant research reviews. Filter by topic, phase, methodology, and more to find answers quickly. (Publishing late 2024)
  2. A gap Map: An interactive tool for researchers and funders to visualise the existing evidence landscape and identify areas where further research is needed. (Publishing late 2024)
  3. An interactive Toolkit: Designed specifically for teachers, leaders, teacher educators, and policymakers, this toolkit makes it easy to engage with and understand the evidence, empowering informed decisions. (Publishing late 2025)

Dr. Calum Davey added: "We want to make it easier for those designing or delivering professional development, supporting teachers and leaders, or making policy decisions to find and use existing research from around the world.”

Read our meta-review plans: NIoT Meta-review Protocol

If you are interested in following the research work at NIoT and/or help shape specific projects, please register your interest’.

You can also contact the Research Team by email at or via NIoT social media channels.

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