ICMEC works to generate greater knowledge about Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems and policies in countries where private businesses are involved in the delivery of such services. These businesses may operate either alongside early education and care services provided by the state, as in the UK, or they could be the only providers. 

About us

ICMEC was established in May 2007, by Professor Helen Penn and Dr Eva Lloyd, with support from UEL's Royal Docks School of Business and Law.  It is based in UEL's School of Education and Communities.  ICMEC brings together academics and students from across the University and other academic institutions nationally and internationally, as well as childcare business leaders, policy makers, business leaders and professionals from the public and private childcare sectors.

The international network of scholars associated with ICMEC produces  policy-relevant evidence of the risks to children's ECEC access associated with increasing privatisation and marketisation of this provision. Members of this network also research the benefits associated with alternatives to markets.


Director: Professor Eva Lloyde.lloyd@uel.ac.uk

Visiting Scholar: Ivana La Valle - ivanalavalle@outlook.com

Aims and work programme

  • To generate greater knowledge about Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) provision in countries which employ mixed economies of welfare and education services 
  • To explore the contribution to young children’s well being within mixed economies of childcare  
  • To develop an international and multi-disciplinary approach to exploring mixed economies of childcare 
  • Developing a policy-relevant research agenda concerning comparisons between ECEC privatisation and marketisation processes in a variety of countries 


  • Establishing a virtual network of academics and stakeholders from the public, private for-profit and private not-for-profit (PVI) childcare sectors, in order to create a forum for the discussion of pertinent trends and developments in mixed economies of childcare 
  • Organising a programme of events and international seminars to profile relevant scholarship and support knowledge transfer 
  • Presenting ICMEC generated research and other pertinent findings to a wide range of audiences nationally and internationally, including policymakers, academics, childcare business leaders and childcare professionals and parents 



The establishment of ICMEC was supported by an advisory board. Several members of this original board regularly contribute to ICMEC's work in different ways. ICMEC is grateful for the continuing support from:

  • Dr Gillian Paull, Senior Associate, Frontier Economics, London
  • Prof Dr Jennifer Sumsion, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
  • Prof Dr Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at the Institute of Education, University College London
  • Prof Dr Susan Prentice, Professor of Sociology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • William Laing, Founder and Director, LaingBuisson Ltd

ICMEC is also grateful for the support received in its early years from:

  • Prof Dr Jim Barry, Emeritus Professor of Gender and Organization Studies, Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London and Visiting Professor Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Prof Dr Kazem Chaharbaghi, Emeritus Professor of Business Management, Royal Docks School of Business and Law, University of East London
  • Prof Dr Mike Brewer, Professor of Economics, University of Essex and Chief Economist and Deputy Chief Executive at the Resolution Foundation
  • Raymond A. White, former Projects & Information Officer, Children and Families Department, London Borough of Brent.

ICMEC Research Associates

  • Dr Mi-Young An, Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea
  • Profa. Dra. Rosầnia Campos, Universidade da Regiao de Joinville/Univille, Brazil
  • Giselle Cory, independent policy analyst, London Dr Eirini Ghouskou, University College London
  • Prof Dr Nina Hogrebe, HAW Hamburg, DBR
  • Dr Jana Javornik, Ministry of Education, Slovenia
  • Dr Sirene Lim, Singapore University of Social Sciences
  • Dr Estelle Martin, Associate, Institute of Education, UCL
  • Dr Alganesh Messele, independent researcher, London
  • Prof Dr Johanna Mierendorff, Halle University, DBR
  • Dr Erik Neimanns, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, DBR
  • Prof Dr Helen Penn, University College London (Co-Founder ICMEC)
  • Prof Dr Fran Press, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Dr Gail Yuen Wai Kwan, the Education University of Hong Kong, China
  • Prof Hasina Ebrahim, UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Dr Wim van Lancker, University of Leuven, Belgium


As part of progressing its research agenda, ICMEC has participated in research funded among others by the British Academy, the European Commission, the Nuffield Foundation, the Department for Education, Eurofound, the Resolution Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the GLA London Development Agency, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, Ipsos-MORI and Family Action.

ICMEC collaborates widely with Institutes and Schools at UEL and at other UK universities in the UK and abroad, with private and not-for-profit research agencies, national and international NGOs and with a range of early childhood specialists.

For ICMEC's most recent research projects see Eva Lloyd's profile.

Seminar series

ICMEC's annual programme of international seminars is intended to profile relevant scholarship and support knowledge transfer regarding the format and impact of mixed economies of childcare. It is aimed at a diverse audience of national and international academics, childcare business leaders and childcare practitioners, policy makers at central and local government level, researchers for think tanks and other independent research agencies, journalists and trade union officials.

The links below lead you to a rich collection of material about the marketisation and corporatisation of childcare presented by national and international academic specialists as well as by policymakers and childcare business leaders at ICMEC seminars since 2007. Links to every presentation are included.

To join our mailing list email Eva Lloyd: e.lloyd@uel.ac.uk

See below for details of our list of Seminar Series: 

ICMEC Working Papers

From 2017 ICMEC has published occasional working papers produced by its research associates. The ICMEC Working Paper series is intended to profile relevant scholarship and support knowledge transfer regarding the format and impact of mixed economies of childcare. The series will present preliminary work and are circulated to encourage discussion. Citation of any paper should account for its provisional character. A revised version may be available directly from the author.

Contact ICMEC

Director ICMEC
Professor Eva Lloyd

Co-founder and former co-director ICMEC
Emeritus Professor Helen Penn

School of Education and Communities
University of East London
Stratford Campus
Water Lane 
London E15 4LZ
Tel: +44 (0)208 223 2834