Sonya Krutikova, IFS Deputy Research Director and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester, has been awarded a Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship for 2023–2025.

The Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship is a globally competitive program for early and mid-career researchers who have received their PhD within the past 10 years and whose work is dedicated to improving the learning and development of children and youth worldwide.

Sonya’s research focuses on how differences in childhood environments affect children’s development and learning outcomes, and she is working in partnership with several governments and NGOs to test different approaches to improving children’s learning environments. During the fellowship, Sonya will examine how child development is shaped by the interactions between environmental factors through two projects: the first on how parental investment in children responds to the quality of the child’s school in Vietnam and the joint role that home and school inputs play in shaping children’s learning, and the second building on a program in Ghana which trained parents to run educational playschemes in pre-schools.

On the fellowship, Sonya said: “I will focus on several critical knowledge gaps which need to be addressed in order for these efforts to result in meaningful improvements of children’s lives – such as – what are the key ingredients of a high quality early education environment and how to maintain the potency of these as we scale promising programmes.”

“I will do so through close collaboration with government and NGO partners who are at the forefront of ECCE policy and programme design in the study countries (Vietnam and Ghana). This will ensure that while contributing to the general state of knowledge in the field of ECCE research, the work I do will directly inform and shape policy design in the contexts I study.”