About us

Tig aims to improve the learning development of pre-school children by providing parents with simple tips for activities to do at home. All of the tips align with everyday activities like doing the laundry or getting ready for bed. The activities have been designed in collaboration with early years researchers with the aim of building children’s early reading, speaking, maths and socio-emotional development.

All answers to Tig questions are completely anonymous. We use short surveys to assess how effective Tig is, learn how to improve Tig, and understand the best ways to help parents support their children's development. We use other aggregated data from the app to understand parenting approaches better. We may share anonymised data with other researchers to learn how to improve support for parents, but only in compliance with GDPR.

Tig is a collaboration between The Behavioural Insights Team and Ipswich Opportunity Area. It has been developed with the support of Professor Gaia Scerif at the University of Oxford and Dr Rebecca Merkley at Carleton University, Ottawa.

Fionnuala O’Reilly

Fionnuala joined the team in 2014 and has led research in several areas of education policy including parental engagement, fostering social and emotional learning in the classroom and improving student motivation. She now leads BIT’s work in Early Years, exploring ways to improve the home learning environment and empowering early years practitioners to foster key skills in the earliest years of life. Fionnuala holds a BSc in Economics and French from the University of Limerick, an MSc in Behavioural Science from Stirling University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford where her research focuses on the development of executive functions in preschool children.

Miranda Jackman

Miranda is a Product Manager in BI Ventures. She is the product owner of Tig and TEST + Build, a digital platform that enables its users to apply behavioural science to their live communication projects and test their effectiveness with a Randomised Controlled Trial. Miranda is also the User Experience lead for BI Ventures. Prior to taking up her current role, Miranda worked as a Project Coordinator in BIT’s Behavioural Research Centre for Adult Skills and Knowledge, where she worked on many of our large scale trials in education. Miranda studied at the University of Nottingham and holds a BA in Archaeology and History of Art.

Anna Bird

Anna oversees BIT’s education, skills and early years work. Before BIT, she was the Head of Research at the Social Mobility Commission, where she focused on reducing attainment gaps throughout school. She also led research on youth welfare for the Department for Work and Pensions. Prior to moving to Government, Anna spent 10 years at a global research consultancy with public and private sector clients. Anna holds an MSc in social psychology from The London School of Economics and an undergraduate degree from The University of Oxford.

Alice Farrell

Alice is an Associate Advisor in the Education team and focuses primarily on Early Years learning and development. Prior to BIT, Alice worked for an EdTech start up where she headed up their impact evaluation and research arm. She holds a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University.

Gaia Scerif

Gaia Scerif reads Psychology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), having spent a year as a visiting student at Queen’s University, in Canada. She then moved to London for a PhD at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, supervised by Professors Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Jon Driver, in close collaboration with Prof Kim Cornish (now at Monash University, Australia). After a brief visiting fellowship (now developed into an ongoing collaboration) at the Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology, Cornell University, in 2003 she became a lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham. She has been based in Oxford since October 2006.

Rebecca Merkley

Rebecca Merkley is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She studies early childhood cognitive development and education, with a focus on mathematics learning. She holds an EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford. Rebecca did her PhD with Professor Gaia Scerif and she previously worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Numerical Cognition Lab at the University of Western Ontario.