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Our research

From empirical research during the last 25 years, we identify through transparent scoping review methods what we know and need to know about fathers and fatherhood in the UK. The research evidence is compiled in a digital, systematically collected, literature library held in Endnote Software, to which all our team have access - and from which we can run bespoke searches for other researchers.


We also focus on identifying substantively important research gaps in the UK to influence new research, secondary analyses of existing datasets, and enhancements to ongoing studies. Our own publications include journal articles and reports, as well as research summaries and research reviews with recommendations for research, policy and practice. Our training and consultancy activities are grounded in this evidence base which also informs our engagement with policy makers and the research community.


We also trial interventions with fathers and families and, to support father-inclusive practice, with practitioners and researchers - including via Randomised Control Trials. 

Access our Nuffield Foundation funded Contemporary Fathers in the UK series: rigorously researched but accessibly written themed reports

As well as the below listed funded research partnerships, we have undertaken various other research projects - check out our resources page for more.

We are always keen to partner with academic and other colleagues on studies that fill the many gaps in research about fathers and fatherhood, and men’s roles in caregiving more widely.

Our fatherhood research library

Our fatherhood research library, developed as part of the Contemporary Fathers in the UK project, is a unique resource, systematically created through searches of eleven bibliographic databases and a systematic reference screening process. 

The library, held in Endnote software, is continuously updated with new research as this is published: it holds thousands of records including academic articles, book chapters and research reports about fathers, fatherhood and inter parental relationships in the UK, together with related policy and practice documents published from 1998 to the present day. International research reviews, methodology papers and publications relating to genetics and epigenetic are also included.

We can now offer bibliographic outputs from the library to researchers, students and organisations working in the fatherhood and families arenas. For more details see page 6 of our services for researchers and research funders brochure.

Research partnerships

We are working with the Behavioural Insights Team, St Michael’s Fellowship and Professor Carla Smith Stover, to adapt the Fathers for Change intervention for trial in the UK. If the adaptation phase (May to September 2024) is successful, the next step will be to conduct a feasibility study.  


This work is funded by Foundations, the What Works Centre for Children and Families, as part of its REACH (Researching Effective Approaches for Children) Plan: a five-year strategy to make England the first country in the world to identify proven approaches to preventing domestic abuse and supporting child victims.


We hope the current project will pave the way to proceed to a full trial of a UK version of Fathers for Change.

Fathers for Change adaptation (2024-25)
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Early Life Cohort feasibility study (2021 onwards)
father feeding his baby

The Early Life Cohort feasibility study (led by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London) is an exciting new study that will follow thousands of infants born in the UK throughout their lives.


The Fatherhood Institute's role is to maximise engagement by fathers in the 'first wave' of data collection when babies will be nine months old.

This important new research study, managed by the National Centre for Social Research and funded by the Department for Education, will follow young people in England as they go through secondary school, and beyond. Participating families and schools will contribute to research looking at the experiences of young people in home and school environments, and will help influence the future development of schools and other services for young people and their families.

The Fatherhood Institute's role is to advise the research team on father inclusion and fatherhood issues.

Education and Outcomes Panel Study B & C (2023 onwards)
young people playing and reading at secondary school
Transition to Parenthood in SMEs (2022-25)
father happily playing with baby at home

Becoming a parent is one of the most impactful processes in a person’s working life course. Expectant and new parents are entitled to a range of workplace supports to help them during this time of transition. Yet, most research on the experiences of pregnancy or parenthood and employment focuses on large firms, and thereby excludes the experiences of the majority of employers and employees who become parents both in the UK and globally.

The T2P study, led by Middlesex University Business School and funded by UKRI's Transforming Working Lives Programme of the ESRC, addresses this knowledge gap by examining how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, 1-249 staff) manage their businesses and staffing when their employees (both mothers and fathers) become parents.

We are a Co-Investigator on the study, providing support to maximise engagement with fathers as participants, and father-inclusive approaches to data collection, analysis and research outputs. 

ISAFE is a learning package developed by the Fatherhood Institute, with support from CASCADE (the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University), and funded by Foundations (the What Works Centre for Children & Families).


It aims to improve engagement with fathers and father-figures by local authority children’s services - helping social workers to routinely and systematically engage, assess, support and challenge men in families.


We are currently participating in a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the programme’s impact in seven English local authorities, with Ipsos as independent evaluators. 

Improving Safeguarding through Audited Father Engagement (2022-24)
social workers improving safeguarding practices
Paternal Involvement & its Effects on Children's Education (2021-23)
father helping his son with homework

Find further PIECE resources and press here

The PIECE study, a collaboration with Leeds University Business School, analysed nationally representative household data from the Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) linked to the official educational records of children from the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile at age five, and the National Pupil Database at age seven. The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, explored the relationship between fathers’ childcare involvement and children’s educational outcomes as they progressed through primary school.


We found that fathers’ childcare involvement has a unique and important effect on the educational outcomes of children that is over and above the effect of the mothers’ involvement.


We made recommendations for how Government, employers, early years settings and primary schools could better support father-involvement, and produced accessible resources for schools/early years settings, and for families.

GenderEYE was an ESRC-funded collaboration between Lancaster University School of Education, the Fatherhood Institute, and Norway’s Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education (QMUC). The study included quantitative and qualitative research to explore the extent and impact of male-inclusive approaches to early years workforce recruitment and retention.


The Fatherhood Institute led impact activities including creating a toolkit for early years managers, and training workshops.

Gender Diversification in Early Years Education (2018-20)
man working in early years education
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