Researchers in Schools

The Researchers in Schools (RIS) programme is a route into teaching designed specifically for PhD graduates.

What does the Researchers in Schools programme offer?

RIS is set up to allow our participants to optimise the use of their subject expertise and knowledge of research in non-selective secondary schools to maximise their positive impact on their pupils.

Our participants complete their training year and the early stages of their teaching career with our support.


Since the RIS programme began in 2014 we have had 382 participants working in 214 schools. These participants and the staff at RIS have been consistently working towards achieving the three RIS aims:

  • To increase and disseminate subject expertise
  • To promote education research
  • To champion university access

As with all Brilliant Club programmes, we constantly monitor our impact.

You can find out more about the impact RIS participants are making in their schools via the button below.

      Research Leader in Education Award

      In addition to completing the roles and responsibilities of a trainee or early career teacher, RIS participants also complete the Research Leader in Education award. This comprises a series of projects spread over the course of the programme that combine their teaching and research skills. This is designed to ensure that participants are well equipped to deploy their knowledge and skills for the benefit of pupils and schools.

      The academic year 2022-23 will be the final year of the RIS programme.

      There are two cohorts on the programme who are completing the Research Leader in Education (RLE) award.

      Year 2: 2021 cohort

      In their second year of the programme, participants will create and pilot an intervention or improvement project with a group of pupils tailored to the context of their school. This project will be underpinned by education research. Participants will align their research with departmental and school priorities in one of the following focus areas: improving pedagogy using evidence-informed practice; widening university access; curriculum development or subject specific exam intervention.

      Year Three (2020 cohort)

      In their third year of the programme participants roll-out an evaluated version of their second-year project to a wider number of pupils, deliver CPD and share their research evaluation findings with colleagues. They are supported to do this by our team and through completing the OLEVI Outstanding Leadership in Education Award. This is run in partnership with the teacher training provider OLEVI, and participants develop their leadership skills.

      RIS Alumni

      The majority of our participants stay teaching in non-selective state schools after completing the programme, many with leadership roles in their subject department or across the whole school, including leading extra-curricular activities or improvement initiatives. Our alumni network provides them with access to opportunities to continue achieving the RIS aims.

      • 94% of participants who complete the programme remain in teaching.
      • 45% of RIS alumni have a leadership role in their school.

      Getting into teaching

      The RIS 2021 cohort is our final group of participants and we will sadly not be recruiting for any future trainees.

      If you are a PhD researcher who is interested in getting into teaching and were hoping to train through RIS, here is some information on alternatives and commonly asked questions.

      If you have any further questions, then please do contact us at

      How can I become a qualified teacher?

      There are several routes into teaching, which are laid out here:

      How can I fund my teacher training?

      You may be eligible for a bursary.

      More information on the amounts and details of eligibility can be found here:

      Additionally, some training route options will pay you a salary in line with the national standardised payment scale for unqualified teachers. The amounts vary by location and can be found here:

      What qualifications do I need?

      In addition to your degree, you would be required to have level 4s or Cs in GCSE English, Maths and Science (primary teaching only).

      If you studied outside of England and have equivalent qualifications, these also fulfil the qualification requirements.

      More information on international equivalency can be found here:

      Do I need to have experience of teaching in a school to be able to train?

      School experience is not a requirement for undergoing teacher training. It is a valuable opportunity to get an insight to the profession and is highly recommended. Guidance on how to arrange school experience can be found in the following links:

      General info: