Research cover image

Researching Character

Our research focuses on themes related to character formation and leadership and is particularly focused on the life stage of ‘emerging adulthood’. What are the character qualities that emerging leaders need to possess in order to address societies biggest challenges and make the most of the opportunities of a technological and globalised world? How can these qualities be developed so that tomorrow's leaders, in all sectors of society, lead in a way that furthers the public good?

The first phase of our work (2014-2017) focused on six character virtues, identified as important for emerging leaders: humility, practical wisdom, honesty, gratitude, a commitment to service and a sense of vocation. We developed and tested a methodology for character development in the university and hosted an international conference with leading academics from across disciplines addressing the theme of ‘Cultivating Virtue in the University’. An edited volume on this theme is forthcoming.

Since 2017 we have continued to engage in theoretical and empirical research; investigating particular virtues, their meaning and importance in contemporary society; implementing and testing methodologies of character development for leadership in university and school contexts; using quantitative and qualitative tools to measure and iteratively improve practical programming; exploring the contribution of the arts and humanities to questions of how leadership is understood and developed.

Click on the links below for further information about our past, ongoing and current research.

Research Projects

  • The Humility Gap primary image

    The Humility Gap

    A public engagement project exploring the habits and practices which can help us become more open-minded.

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    In assocation with:

  • Arts of Leading primary image

    Arts of Leading

    A collaboration with TORCH and 'Engaging with the Humanities' at Saïd Business School.

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    In assocation with:

  • Cultivating Virtue in the University primary image

    Cultivating Virtue in the University

    While moral formation has historically been one of the university’s central purposes, universities in the modern era have become shy of intentionally shaping the character of their students.

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    In assocation with:

  • Ethics through Fiction and Film primary image

    Ethics through Fiction and Film

    What can great books and films teach us about moral complexity and the human experience?

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