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Double fellowship success

Posted on 27 June 2021

We are delighted to welcome two research fellows to the department this Autumn: Dr Zoe Baker and Dr Gill Francis.

British Academy Fellow

Dr Baker has been awarded a three-year British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to explore the decision-making and destinations of care-experienced graduates in England and Scotland, and will make a welcome addition to the Centre for Research on Education and Social Justice. Her project will build on her prior research on care-experienced students’ higher education access and success.

Dr Baker joins the department after gaining research and teaching experience at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, and De Montfort University.

Leverhulme Trust Fellow

Dr Francis, who joined the department in October 2020 to undertake a one-year ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship to investigate the role of parent and child genes and the environment in play and child development.

Dr Francis’s three-year project will see her further embed her research within the department’s Psychology in Education Research Centre.

Dr Baker said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining such a fantastic department at York in September to begin my British Academy Fellowship. The fellowship will enable me to explore an area we know very little about - the transition out of higher education for care-experienced graduates. Importantly, the research will identify how graduates’ care backgrounds influence which structural constraints and enablements are encountered during their transitions into employment and/or further study, and hopes to make recommendations for policy and practice to support these transitions. I am especially delighted to be able to undertake this research at the University of York - an institution which exhibits best practice in supporting its care-experienced students. ”

Dr Francis added: “The Early Career Fellowship funded by the Leverhulme Trust will allow me the chance to further my interest in play research. It is a unique opportunity for continuity, as I get to extend my current work investigating the heritability of play to exploring the influence of gene and environment interactions in the study of play and child development. Although play is well researched, methodologies like behavioural genetics have not been widely applied to this area of study. The work from this Fellowship is important because novel approaches to addressing etiological questions about children’s play can advance our understanding of why children spend prolonged periods of their childhood playing. This past year, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Diversity (CANDY) Group at the Department of Education, University of York and collaborating with other researchers in the department. I am thrilled for the chance to continue my professional development in such a supportive work setting.”