The RIS Programme

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. 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 Initial Teacher Education providers and more than 75 schools, and supported by a range of educational organisations and the Department for Education.

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 education research

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

Our impact so far

Researchers in Schools is currently delivered in partnership with 15 Initial Teacher Education providers across the country and over the past three years we have placed over 160 participants in more than 75 secondary 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.


Last year, 90% of the pupils enrolled in Uni Pathways were from our target demographics.


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


84% of 2018 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


39% of maths and physics participants are women


27% of our 2018 participants are from a BAME background

Get involved

The RIS Programme is a unique 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 three-year period.

We work in partnership with schools, ITE providers 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 ITE 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 before the start of Summer Training.


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 that delivers RIS, here.