Winners of the EECERA Annual Awards 2016

As in previous years, as part of our annual conference, we wanted to highlight the importance and demand for new and innovative research in the early years by giving recognition to researchers whose contributions make impact not only in terms of readership but also originality and transferability.

This year we hosted awards in two categories, EECERA Student Research and EECERJ Best Published Paper.

Miriam O’Regan, a part time MPhil student at Dublin Institute of Technology won the Student Award for her paper titled “Mainstreaming Childminding in Ireland”.

The Awards Committee has commended Miriam’s research for its transferability and innovative technology:

“[the research] makes a clear case that home based care in Ireland is an under-researched area but one where policy action is required. Importantly, it is also an area of focus which has transferability to many other cultural and national contexts where home-based care is in a similar stage of development. Methodologically, this study is innovative and fascinating as it grappled with respondents who are often hidden and hard to reach. It uses appreciative inquiry methods and social media to establish a ‘World Café Forum’ [conducted in conjunction with Childminding Ireland] which successfully engages high numbers of parents and childminders to share their perspectives and this should be commended.”

Miriam commented:

“It is an incredible honour to have won this prestigious award from EECERA. I want to thank the editorial board and all at EECERA for choosing to put the spotlight on the under-researched area of childminding in Ireland. I hope that this will encourage even more research into childminding and home-based childcare right across Europe. This was my first conference and it was a wonderful experience to meet such a lively bunch of like-minded people, a community of early years researchers. I can’t wait for Bologna next year!”

The copy of Miriam’s research account can be found here: Research report (pdf)

The Best Published Paper Award goes to the authors of the most downloaded paper published in the last full volume of the EECERJ Journal.

This year the winning paper by Stephanie Kerckaert, Ruben Vanderlinde and Johan van Braak titled “The role of ICT in early childhood education: Scale development and research on ICT use and influencing factors.” has been downloaded 1411 times at the time of award.

Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Ghent University in Belgium commented:

“At the Department of Educational Studies at Ghent University, we have a long tradition in research on ICT integration in education. One of the questions that triggers us, is the question why some teachers are using ICT in a more didactical and pedagogical way than other teachers; or the question why some schools are more experienced in ICT integration than other schools. Given this perspective, the article that received the EECERJ Best Published Paper Award, is one of the first published studies that explores this quest for the context of Early Childhood Education. Our study showed that for the context of Early Childhood Education, teachers’ professional development is one of the most important and crucial conditions in stimulating ICT use that transcend basic ICT skills.”

EECERA and EECERJ members can download this paper via the link.

We would like to congratulate the winners once again and thank all who applied for the awards. We hope to receive even more applications next year.


The EECERA Student Research Award was open to postgraduate students with appropriate status from any recognised university whose research is aimed at developing early childhood policy or practice.

Miriam formerly worked with Wicklow County Childcare Cmiriam-o_reganommittee as Childminder Advisor and currently work as a Community Employment Programme Manager for Childcare with Bray Family Resource & Development Project.  She’s also a MPhil part-time student at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).  Miriam’s supervisor is Dr. Ann Marie Halpenny (DIT) and her advisory supervisor is Dr. Nóirin Hayes (currently visiting professor at Trinity College Dublin, formerly a Professor at DIT).

More information about the EECERA 2017 which will be held in Bologna, Italy, can be found here:

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