Informed action is at the heart of ConnectFutures.

We harness research and learning to drive evidence-based practice and increase impact. Our international research allows us to apply wide learning to the hyper-local contexts of our practice. 

Engage with us about your research query!



Our team provides a unique home for contemporary, community orientated research. 
With over 20 years experience conducting research into challenging and controversial areas, we understand the sensitivities involved in mounting research projects and collaborating in multi-partner undertakings.  In our research and evaluation we use appropriate  qualitative and quantitative designs, appreciating the requirements for an evidence-based set of conclusions. Our long involvement working directly with young people enables skills in interviewing underpinned by ethics.   
As independent researchers, our team has conducted groundbreaking research nationally and internationally for a range of organisations. 

Internationally we’ve worked on P/CVE projects with organisations such as OSCE, UN  EU Radicalisation Awareness Network and Hedayah. We undertake academic research to inform our work including  3 current EU Horizon 2020 projects (DRIVE/DARE/PREPARE) on radicalisation and extremism, the  EU funded research on former extremists with Danish and Dutch partners. We have held/hold research posts at the University of Birmingham, Cambridge and Liverpool.

In the UK we’ve undertaken research for West Midlands Police and Counter Terror Unit, and for HM Prison and Probation Service. We’ve delivered projects/interventions in over 32 LAs in England and Wales, and with networks across Scotland, with a range of programmes since 2014. Our work has been evaluated positively by independent evaluators, and referenced in peer-reviewed academic journals as developing ‘best practice non-stigmatising dialogic approaches to P/CVE’. We are delighted to partner with the University of Liverpool to support our colleague Jacob’s ESRC funded PhD and welcome other researchers interested in CSO partnerships.  

What we can offer you: as a partner, ConnectFutures can offer our research and impact grounded work, combined with the practical expertise of our training in resilience to extremism and exploitation, in communities and educational settings across the UK.

Where funders want partnerships between academic and practical providers, we can help you demonstrate relevance and to be able to assess and/or increase impact.


Our research team is led by Emeritus Professor of International Education  Lynn Davies who has led and worked with global teams and organisations ranging from the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF, GIZ, OSCE as well as EU RAN.  She is supported by Dr Laura Zahra McDonald and members of the wider team.

Topics we specialise in

We have a wide range of expertise including:

  • Extremism
  • Mis/disinformation and fake news in both off and online social spaces
  • Criminal exploitation
  • Intersectional lived experience
  • Contextual safeguarding and harms
  • Anti-racism
  • A particular focus on communities and young people

Types of research we undertake

We engage in research, advising large transnational projects such as EU Horizon 2020 (DRIVE, DARE, PREPARE), and organisations such as OSCE  and others.  Our team specialises in using appropriate and creative qualitative and quantitative designs, underscoring the requirements for an evidence-based set of conclusions. Our long involvement working directly with young people enables skills in interviewing underpinned by ethics.

Our USP - why work with us?

As a community interest company, ConnectFutures can provide a testbed for academic theories and their translation into practise.

  • Unique community and youth voice access through our Youth Advisory Board and the young people we engage with in schools, PRUs, alternative settings and community spaces 
  • Research toolkits
  • Practice-focussed Theories of Change
  • Bespoke research and data collection
  • Bespoke projects with evidence based programme design
  • Expertise and experience in specific fields eg extremism and vulnerability
  • Youth and community co-creation and research participation


Do you undertake research and evaluation for small companies or only academic partners?

We are happy to collaborate with clients and partners of all sizes.

  1. Direct commissions
  2. Research partnerships
  3. Civil Society Organisations advisory roles
  4. Grant applications
  • Testbed for building resilience
  • It’s in your interest when applying for grants to engage with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
  • Access to research participants especially young people and communities (mis)branded ‘hard to reach’
  • Expertise and insights around topics of  extremism, mis/disinformation, fake news in off and online social spaces, contextual safeguarding and harms and anti-racism
  • Evaluation and impact
  • A number of our team have academic backgrounds and hold/have held university posts
  • Combined research experience of 95 years (!)
  • Excellent trusted networks across the UK
  • See the range of work detailed above.
  • Our team is happy to work on projects internationally, nationally and locally.



Sometimes a one day course just isn’t enough.

You need something strategic, that is designed specifically for you and your needs and delivers value over time. Our programme design delivers a series of activities across a number of days, weeks or months, giving you the tools and resources to successfully engage your audience around difficult subject matters.

Skip to content