Research Team

We are research team based at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Between us, we have years of experience working in the field of provision and evaluation of services for minority and disadvantaged groups. This includes studies with separated children who have migrated to the UK unaccompanied parents or caregivers as well as non-native young learners of the English language.


Prof. Fiona Copland, Project Principal Investigator

Fiona is a Professor of TESOL and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Prior to her academic career she spent almost ten years teaching English in Nigeria, Hong-Kong and Japan. For several years, she was a director of CELTA and DELTA programmes and worked at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City and Aston universities, where she directed MA and MSc programmes in TESOL and teacher education. She is widely published in the areas of teaching English to young learners, native speakerism, classroom languages, and the experience of international students.


Dr Maggie Grant

Maggie is a researcher based at the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection and the Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland. Her research focuses mainly on care experienced children and young people and their families, and the workers, services and systems that they come into contact with. She has worked on a number of studies related to separated children who have migrated to the UK unaccompanied by parents or caregivers, including recently on education (with Scottish Refugee Council) and befriending support (with Scottish Guardianship Service). She led the Scottish pilot of the International Organisation of Migration’s Fostering Across Borders training and previously worked for refugee support organisations in London and Syria.


Dr Paul Rigby

Paul is a lecturer in social work at the University of Stirling. Paul has published a number of research reports and papers that address the challenges in addressing child trafficking and sexual exploitation, and the wider responses to separated children. He presently sits on the Scottish Government National Child Trafficking Strategy Group, Action Area 3 Human Trafficking Strategy Group and is on the advisory group for the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Paul is also working as a consultant on a number of international projects around migration and separated children.


Dr Maria Fotopoulou

Maria is a Lecturer in Criminology with expertise and experience in the field of policy and the service evaluation of marginalised and minority groups in the UK and Greece. She has a PhD in Drug Misuse from the University of Glasgow and an MSc in Drug Use from Imperial College London. She specialises in the topics of drug use, the framing and construction of social problems and the process of problematisation in research, policy and practice. She was also a co-investigator in a Carnegie Trust funded study into the provision of services to unaccompanied minors in Scotland.


Dr Kinga Goodwin

Kinga has an MSc in cross-cultural psychology and a PhD in sociology and migration studies from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She previously worked at UCL SSEES, Brunel University, University of Warwick and University of Birmingham. She specialises in qualitative research and has fieldwork experience from the UK, New Zealand/Aotearoa and Japan. As a Research Assistant she supports the Team throughout all stages of the project and overlooks the project’s media presence.