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 Capacity building: developing researcher expertise
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Development of the Capacity Building Strand of the TLRP

TLRP was committed to continuous improvement, particularly concerning the range of available skills, knowledge and confidence of researchers in tackling educational issues. This concern was shaped by an early survey by Donald and Anne McIntyre, and continued through two phases of TLRP investment - led successively by Stephen Gorard, Gareth Rees (both then at the University of Cardiff) and Steve Baron (University of Strathclyde). It remains crucial today in light, for example, of ESRC’s 2006 Demographic Review of the UK Social Sciences.

TLRP’s capacity building strategy was designed to support processes through which the activity becomes embedded within, and ‘owned’ by, the social networks of educational research communities - thus leaving a sustainable legacy after TLRP funding ceased in 2009.

From 2001 to 2005 the Research Capacity Building Network (RCBN), co-ordinated from Cardiff University, was commissioned to:

  1. review the research resources available within the Programme and beyond and identify opportunities for adding value and collaboration;

  2. support research capacity building activities and training within the Programme;

  3. disseminate ideas and training on capacity building for the wider research community, including active researchers in ‘user’ and ‘practitioner’ communities.

A brief review of TLRP capacity building strategies from 2000-2005 has been provided by Stephen Baron in BERA's Research Intelligence.

The core strategy of TLRP’s Phase 2 Capacity Building activities from 2005-2007 was to work with educational research communities in order better to embed capacity building activity in sustainable ways. The importance of such a ‘social practices’ model of capacity building was one of the key outcomes of the work of RCBN.

To take this forward, TLRP worked closely with the British Educational Research Association, and other learned societies. TLRP also worked in partnership with the Scottish Applied Educational Research Scheme .

A major focus for TLRP's networking activity was the development of free online capacity building resources. Customised versions are being created with:

Discussions were held with other such groups to foster cognate developments and their use in educational research communities across the UK.

TLRP also collaborated in the development of the the UK Educational Evidence Portal which helped people interested in education to find educational evidence from a range of reputable sources using a single search.


TLRP's Capacity Building Conference series maintained links between individual TLRP Projects, TLRP capacities building activities and colleagues involved in cognate work elsewhere. These will focus increasingly on the strategic issues of sustainable capacities building in educational research communities.

Information on Capacity Building Conferences


TLRP also ran an 'alert' service, based on the JISC Mail system, providing regular information about UK capacity building opportunities. The service alerted subscribers to events and opportunities through the use of ‘topic’ keywords.

A full archive listing of previous alerts can be found here










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