Our research

THRIVE is a two years Erasmus+ project (2018-2020) aimed at building upon research in neuroscience, trauma-sensitive education and positive psychology, to boost the professional capacity of staff in second chance education settings so as to enhance the resilience, wellbeing and social and emotional competence of early school leavers (ESL). Through the provision of training those working with ESL across the partner countries, these educators are equipped to transfer innovative practices to second chance education at national and EU levels. The project creates an innovative online training programme for second chance educators  applied to develop the resilience and wellbeing of ESL and enhance their capacity to build the competences required to benefit from education, training and employment opportunities. THRIVE is coordinated by IPEC Europe, an institute of adult education and training in Ireland, and includes six partners from Austria, Ireland, Italy, Malta and Romania, including the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health at the University of Malta.
This two year project (2016-2018) commissioned by the Commissioner for Children in Malta, seeks to investigate the health, education and wellbeing of overseas children in Malta. The past decade has seen a considerable increase in the number of such children arriving in Malta. This is a relatively large scale, comprehensive study examining the wellbeing, resilience, inclusion and education of such children, with data collected from children, teachers and parents/carers. It makes use of both quantitative and qualitative measures, collecting both survey and qualitative data. The participants are children and young people aged 0 to 18 years who are either born outside Malta or in Malta to non-Maltese parents (or one parent in the case of single parents) and living in Malta. Besides examining children’s education, mental health, wellbeing and inclusion, this study focuses also on two key aspects related to children’s wellbeing. First it takes a resilience perspective, seeking to identify the assets and strengths overseas children may bring with them and how these may serve as protective factors from potential risk and promote their positive development and wellbeing. Secondly the study examined children’s subjective wellbeing, seeking to listen to children’s own voices about their wellbeing, mental health, inclusion and resilience, and what they think constitutes a good and pleasant life as overseas children living in Malta.

ENRETE is a two year Erasmus+ project (2016-2018) coordinated by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health at the University of Malta and including the the University of Crete (Greece), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Pavia (Italy), the University of Rijeke (Croatia) and University Stefan cel Mare Suceava (Romania). ENRETE seeks to improve the quality and relevance of higher education by focusing on the development of innovative curricula with high relevance to Europe’s current socio-economic context. The overall aim of the project is to contribute to the creation of learning environments through teacher education that promotes the resilience and growth of marginalised learners by providing them with the tools, resources and learning contexts which facilitate their academic and social and emotional learning and consequently their social inclusion and active citizenship. To achieve this aim the project has developed a set of modules for teacher education at Masters level, tailored to build up educators’ competence in responding and addressing the academic, social and emotional needs of learners at risk in their development and education, particularly learners from ethnic, linguistic, and migrant communities, from socio-economic disadvantage and also learners with learning difficulties and individual educational needs. An Erasmus Mundus application for a European Masters in Resilience in Education is also in the pipeline for 2019. 

Website: www.enrete.eu

RESCUR was a three year Lifelong Learning Programme Comenius project (2012-2015) coordinated by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health at the University of Malta, and including the University of Pavia (Italy), the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Orebro University (Sweden), the University of Crete (Greece), and the University of Lisbon (Portugal). It developed a resilience curriculum for early and primary education in Europe through the intercultural and transnational collaboration among the partner institutions at an EU level, tapping into the resources and expertise of the various partners involved. The partners produced a multi-lingual resilience programme for early years and primary school: RESCUR Surfing the Waves includes a Teachers' Guide, a Parents' Guide, and three Activities Manuals (Early Years, Early Primary, Late Primary) and various other resources. The programme has been implemented and evaluated in various countries both in Europe and other countries such as Australia. A paper on the evaluation of the programme in Maltese kindergarten centres has been published in the journal of Pastoral Care in Education (2018).

Access the manuals and resources.

Website: www.rescur.eu

EMPAQT is a two years Erasmus+ project (2016-2018) aimed at contributing to the creation of learning environments that foster equity and inclusion, with a particular focus on children at risk for early school leaving. The project addresses the needs of teachers as professionals to obtain pedagogical support to enhance their skills for creating positive and supporting learning environments which increase students’ resilience. It also addresses the needs of young people in disadvantaged situations who need support and coaching for constructing positive self-concept, setting realistic personal goals and building strategies to achieve well-being through education and professional realisation. The project is coordinated by Trakia University (Bulgaria) and includes six partners including the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health at the University of Malta.

Website: www.empaqt.eu

HOPEs is a two-year Erasmus+ project (2016-2018) aimed at improving primary school teachers’ skills by using innovative and learner-centered educational approaches that focus on students’ wellbeing character development. Strengthening teachers’ ability to positively interact and influence students’ behaviour and competences results in more effective and meaningful education in schools. An innovative educational programme was developed, during the two years of the project’s implementation, based on the theoretical framework of positive psychology and character education. Trained teachers become more motivated to improve their teaching methods and to guide their students in issues related to self-awareness, psychological resilience, happiness and positivity. The project was launched in September 2016 and is implemented in five EU countries (Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta and Portugal). The consortium consists of 6 expert organisations lead by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and includes the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health as one of the partners.

Website: www.hopeschools.eu

MOV-UP is a three year Erasmus+ project (2016-2019) which aims to prepare a teacher training course to develop the affective domain of young learners, focusing on values, motivation and attitudes). The training course is aimed at equipping early years teachers with tools for value assessment, pedagogic analysis and suitable intervention methodologies, supporting synchronisation of the personal values and motivation of the children (notably influenced by multiple and diverse cultures) with the socially acceptable ones (particularly European fundamental values and democracy values in general). It is coordinated by the Regional Discrict Nadezda, in Sofia, Bulgaria and includes 10 partners, including the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health.

Website: www.movup-project.eu

ENTRÉE (2013-2015) was a two year EU Comenius Lifelong Learning project on the enhancement of teacher resilience in Europe. The project focused on developing a multilevel teacher training framework in teacher resilience, making use of both face-to-face and self-directed online training approach. It has developed six face to face and online teacher training modules on teacher resilience as well as a self-assessment tool which gives young and developing teachers feedback on their resilience profile. ENTRÉE was coordinated by the University of Achen in Germany and includes six European partners, including the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health at the University of Malta.

Website: www.entree-project.eu

This research project was started in 2005 as a national study to establish the prevalence of social, emotional and behaviour difficulties in Maltese schools. The results of the first study were published in 2008 in a report entitled Engagement Time: A national study of social, emotional and behaviour difficulties in Maltese schools (Cefai, Cooper and Camilleri, 2008) published by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health. The first follow-up study has examined students’ developmental trajectory from Year 1 to Year 4 in relation to risk and protective factors and has been published in Building Resilience in School Children. Risk and Promotive Factors Amongst Primary School Pupils (2011, published by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health). The second follow up study took place in 2015-2016 in collaboration with the Penn State Prevention Research Centre, USA, under the Fulbright programme.

ISCWEB is a worldwide research survey on children’s subjective well-being. The study aims to collect solid and representative data on children’s lives and daily activities, their time use and in particular on their own perceptions and evaluations of their well-being. The purpose is to improve children's well-being by creating awareness among children, their parents and their communities, but also among opinion leaders, decision makers, professionals and the general public. Seventeen countries are taking part in the study, including Malta. The Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health has participated in the second wave of the study, collecting the data with a representative sample of 3000 children and the findings were published early in 2016 in the third Centre monograph (see Publications). The Centre is participating in the third wave of the study as part of a 40 countries team, with the international and national reports being published in 2018-2019.

Website: www.isciweb.org

CUWB is an international research project that involves a qualitative investigation into how children conceptualise and experience well-being from a comparative and global perspective. The study aims to interrogate from children's perspectives the meanings of well-being and examines how children experience dimensions of well-being. In so doing it attempts to explore the importance of local, regional and national social, political and cultural contexts on these meanings and experiences, via a comparative national analysis. CUWB works within a network of researchers across the globe who act as hubs to undertake qualitative fieldwork within their country. The Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health is part of this network. It has participated in various local and international studies on children’s understandings of wellbeing and published a number of various papers and book chapters. 

Website: www.cuwb.org

A three year international project on the promotion of mental health in schools coordinated by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health (2011-2013). This was an FP7 international research exchange programme involving the University of Malta, the University of Leicester (UK), Hull University (UK), Flinders University (Australia) and the University of Sunshine Coast (Australia). Dr Helen Askell-Williams, senior researcher at Flinders University, spent six months at the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health as part of the project, while Prof Carmel Cefai, Centre Director spent one term at Flinders University in South Australia. The project was concluded at the end of 2013, the findings were reported in an edited book Mental Health Promotion in School: Cross-cultural narratives and perspectives (Sense Publishing, 2017).

This was a University-led project coordinated by the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health seeking to increase access to post-secondary and tertiary education from particular regions in Malta. It took a systemic, multi intervention approach, making use of peer and youth mentoring programmes, school based support and family support to promote social and emotional education and increase access to post-secondary and tertiary education for young people coming from a particular region with a relatively low number of students continuing their post secondary and tertiary education. The project adopted a child-centred, resilience-based, longitudinal and action-research perspective, making use of both case studies and universal interventions at various school levels. The findings of the initial project were published in an international journal in 2015. In January 2013, the project led to the establishment of the Cottonera Resource Centre at the University of Malta, which has continued the project and introduced various other initiatives to increase access to higher education as well as lifelong learning in the community.

Website: www.um.edu.mt/crc

This was a collaboration with Flinders University in Australia which resulted in two projects. The first project was intervention in the promotion of well-being and positive relations in the newly established co-educational middle schools, in collaboration with the School of Education, Flinders University, Australia and the Research and Development Department, Educational Directorate, Malta. The project involved teacher training in programme implementation, implementation of a six weeks programme on wellbeing and healthy relationships and evaluation of the intervention at the end of 2014-2015. In the second project, a collaborative research team investigated school staff’, students’ and parents’ views on social and emotional learning in school at curricular, cross-curricular and whole-school levels. All the primary and secondary schools in one of the ten regional colleges in Malta took part in the project. A number of papers on the findings have been published in various international journals and edited books (2013, 2014, 2017).

The Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health participated in an international study on people’s hope and aspirations for 2016. The study was led by the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and Swissfuture, and included Austria, Czech Republic, France, Norway and Switzerland, as well as Malta. The study explored the hopes of individuals across various aspects of their life, including family and relationships, work, the economy, national politics, religion and spirituality, and climate and the environment. An online questionnaire was completed during at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016, and the findings were published in a book chapter by Springer in 2018.

(SoCaWe) was an international study on university students' social capital and wellbeing led by the Czech Positive Psychology Centre at Masiryk University, Czech Republic. The Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health was the Maltese partner in this project and data with Maltese University students was collected in 2013-2014; the findings were published in a peer reviewed journal paper in 2018.

A pilot intervention study in collaboration with one primary school in Malta. All the school staff at the school have been trained on the implementation of Circle Time by the classroom teacher. A number of classrooms from Year 1 to Year 5 took part in the programme, delivering Circle Time in their classroom on a weekly basis over a ten week period. A paper on the results of this project has been published in the Journal of Pastoral Care in Education (2014).

The Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health in collaboration with Psychology students has launched a pilot peer education programme at the University of Malta for University students. The project consists of four online education programmes, namely nutrition and healthy diet (HEAT), stress management (SMART), substance use and misuse (SAM), mental health awareness (iMAP). and sexual health (SHAPE). The programme is also part of the DegreePlus Programme.