The story so far

Researchers in Schools is delivered by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that exists to widen access to highly-selective universities for pupils from under-represented groups. We recruit, train and place PhD researchers as part-time tutors and full-time teachers in non-selective state schools. Through Researchers in Schools, PhD graduates become highly-effective classroom teachers, champions for university access and future subject leaders in the education sector.

Researchers in Schools is currently delivered in partnership with 15 School-Centred Initial Teacher Training providers and has placed participants in more than 75 schools, as well as charity partners, link universities and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

Our aims


To increase and disseminate subject expertise

Increasing the number of high-level subject specialists in non-selective state schools, including shortage subjects like maths and physics, ensuring the dissemination of both subject knowledge and cutting-edge expertise within individual schools and throughout the wider system.


To promote research:

Utilising the unique skill set of researchers through a bespoke teacher training programme that develops the research skills of both pupils and teachers, with a focus on independent enquiry, evidence-based teaching and action research.


To champion university access:

Promoting researchers as in-school champions of higher education, who support access to research-intensive universities and provide discrete programmes of learning to challenge and stretch pupils.

“Widening university access, valuing the importance of subject knowledge, and research-based teaching are three areas where teachers with PhDs can have an enormous impact."

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools

View annual report 2014/2015 (From Page 8)

Our impact so far

Researchers  in  Schools  is  currently  delivered  in  partnership  with  15  SCITTs across the country and over the past three years we have placed over 160 participants in more than 75 schools. The programme is supported by King’s College London and the University of Southampton, which offer associate researcher status to participants, including library privileges.


77% of RIS participants believe they are making a positive difference to the children they are working with

80% +

Over 80% of 2014 participants qualified as either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ teachers


82% of 2015 applicants were not considering training through any other route


Nearly 1,000 pupils have taken part in subject activities and university-style tutorial programmes led by participants


38% of maths and physics participants are women


King’s College London provided Honorary Research Associate status to 50 participants


The University of Southampton provided Visiting Academic status to 30 participants

Get involved

The RIS Programme is a salaried route into teaching that recruits PhD graduates and works in partnership with schools to place and train them as new subject specialist teachers, for an initial two or three year period, depending on the subject.

We work in partnership with schools, SCITTs and universities across England to recruit outstanding PhD graduates and support them to become excellent teachers and research leaders, who are committed to closing the gap in attainment and university access. We are always looking to partner with schools and ITT providers who share our aims – please see the link below.

We accept applications from candidates who have already achieved a PhD, or who will have completed their PhD by the start of the next academic year.


I’m a researcher and want to get involved

Find out more


I’m a school and want to get involved

Find out more

Not a school or researcher but want to be involved in our mission?

Find out more about the Brilliant Club, the award-winning charity who delivers RIS, here.