Our Researchers

The Research Team appears in alphabetical order and can be contacted via e-mail.

Ken Carter
External Consultant


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Ken Carter graduated from Loughborough University, Institute of Education, London University and Surrey University, becoming a Teacher/Lecturer in Deaf Education and Special Educational Needs. He has been highly entrepreneurial over 55 years in helping to set up and run a number of enterprising charitable companies, namely: Deafax, (incorporating Deafchild International); Breakthrough (deaf/hearing) Integration Trust (now DeafPlus), FYD, AACT; Disabled Child-India; Specialkidz; Deaf Aspirations; Decibels; Ability2Access, EASiTEC; and DSFF. His latest initiative GOALS4Life (Global Online Assisted Learning & Support) is a research partner with the University of Reading. He is acting as a Senior Research Advisory Consultant to the DEAL Project. 


Ilan Dwek
Research Assistant


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Ilan Dwek, who himself is Deaf, is a Research Assistant on the project, assisting in collating and analysing data. He also is a Lecturer at the University, working for the past decade for the Institute of Education (IoE) specialising in SEN Education and Inclusive Policy within schools for BA Education Studies. In addition, he also works for the Department of Languages and Culture (DLC) delivering British Sign Language (BSL) for all 3 stages. He is currently a part-time doctoral student (currently in his 5th year) looking at the employability of deaf people and their wellbeing.


Debbie Flory
Administrative Assistant


Debbie Flory joined Decibels and AACT (Access Ability Communications Technology) in October 2014 and spends her time co-ordinating the current projects, dealing with the day-to-day administration of the office as well as assisting with researching and sending out funding applications. Prior to this, she worked for many years in the Financial Services Sector as Executive Assistant to the CEO and Sales Director. Debbie provides part-time administration support for the DEAL project.


Professor Suzanne Graham – Project Investigator
Professor of Language and Education 


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Suzanne Graham is Professor of Language and Education at The University of Reading, Institute of Education. She has led a number of large research projects in the field of language education, exploring the factors that underpin effective learning in a range of different educational contexts, including within digital environments. She has published widely in the area of language comprehension and learner motivation.


Gail Hickman
Research Assistant


Gail Hickman joined the DEAL project part-time in 2021 to assist in gathering and analysing data. She is an ESOL tutor and Cambridge and IELTS examiner who has been working in universities, secondary schools and companies in Italy over the past 25 years.  Her PhD project (third year, part-time) investigates motivation, vocabulary learning and self-regulation among English language learners.


Helen Lansdown
Research Assistant


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Helen Lansdown graduated from the University of Reading with a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature. She is Chief Executive of Deafax, a charitable company founded in 1985 that has a national remit committed to creating equal opportunities and access to information, training and services for deaf people of all ages. Deafax partners with the University of Reading on the DEAL project and Helen is a part-time Research Assistant. She is a fluent British Sign Language user.


Professor Richard Mitchell
Professor of Cybernetics


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Richard Mitchell is Professor of Cybernetics and a University Teaching Fellow at the University of Reading, which he first attended as an undergraduate reading Cybernetics & Control Engineering. He has held many offices at Reading, including Head of Department of Cybernetics, Director of Teaching and Learning and then Senior Tutor in the School of Systems Engineering, and is currently Director of Technology Enhanced Learning in the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences. He is the Lead Educator for the Begin Robotics MOOC which runs on FutureLearn, for which he wrote a series of successful interactive web pages to illustrate key concepts and provide exercises for the participants. His interests include artificial intelligence, control, robotics, Gaia and online learning.