School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Gopal Iyer

Research Associate


Dr. Gopalkrishnan Iyer is a social scientist, educationist and an assessment expert in the field of children’s learning. He is currently engaged as a Post-doctoral research associate at the UKRI GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub and is closely involved in working with partners around the globe to develop and apply interdisciplinary systems to water security.

He has extensive experience in working in the field of educational assessments, water sanitation and hygiene and poverty alleviation projects. Prior to his PhD, he worked for global firms including AC Nielsen, World Bank, idiscoveri education and Educational Initiatives. He has extensive experience concerning impact measurements, creating policy frameworks and providing advisory services to various governments as well as funding agencies.

At the World Bank Gopal managed (Programme for International Student Assessment) and successfully rolled out national level tests in two states of India. He has managed and executed large scale projects single-handedly and has also been part of the teams that designed and developed assessment instruments. His work on educational policy with the Royal educational council Bhutan today forms the cornerstone of reforms in the country. He is a keen lover of technology and firmly believes that learning levels amongst children can be enhanced introducing new technology in educational institutions at the early stages.


Past and present projects – Ongoing

  • The quality of school education in Bhutan in collaboration with the Royal education council Bhutan, £ 0.12 mn*[1] 2008-2009.
  • Development of guidelines for making quality and safe food available in schools in collaboration with the Food Safety and Security Authority of India (FSSAI), £0.15 mn*, 2012-13
  • A study of leadership traits in the Council schools of Delhi, in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council, £ 11K*
  • A longitudinal study to determine the access to safe and adequate water, hygiene practices in the rural households of Punjab, in partnership with the World Bank and the State Project Management Cell (SPMC), £ 31K*, 2011-12
  • Co-lead in evaluating the impact of SOLE (self-organised learning environment’s) at Newcastle University, £90K, 2017 –Ongoing
  • Contemporary Art and SOLE, in collaboration with two leading art galleries in Newcastle, 2018 – Ongoing


  • John Blundell funding from the Adam Smith Institute, £4000, 2014-15
  • Scholarly Bursary from the School of Education Communication and Language Sciences, £3000, 2014-17

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Education - December 2018, Newcastle University, UK
  • M.A in Education - June 2011, Distinction
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management, August 2003, Indian Institute of Rural Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, Saurashtra University, April 2001, First Class, Ranked 7th at the University. 

Academic honours

  • Postgraduate certificate in research training, Newcastle University
  • Certification in quantitative statistics for the use of advance SPSS
  • Certification in qualitative research methodology.
  • John Blundell studentship for the year 2015 by the Adam Smith Institute
  • Member ‘International advisory committee’ for an international symposium held at Christ College, India
  • Proficiency award for excellence in academics by Saurashtra University.
  • Certification course on Challenges of Global poverty by MIT Edx

Research Interests

    Gopal’s main area of research is around large scale educational assessments, designing and developing them as well as implementing them to understand student learning. He has undertaken large scale census surveys in several states of India and Bhutan. He is interested in pursuing the power of the next-generation technology platforms such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and harnessing the power of big data to understand how learning could be sustained in children. He is keen to develop longitudinal studies and randomised controlled trials (RCT’s) in that direction.

    [1] *Figures in Indian National Rupee (INR) converted to £ for referencing using the most up to date exchange rate


    Undergraduate teaching

    BA (Education) – modules include

    • Edu1006: Education in Developing Countries
    • Edu 2002: Global innovations in education
    • Edu2004: Global developments in technology-enhanced learning

    Post Graduate teaching

    • Edu8211: Education Policy and Entrepreneurship for Development
    • Edu8213: The future of learning
    • EDU8215 - "Dissertation module"