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Laura’s research interests lie in three main areas; child health and wellbeing, early child development, and programme evaluation. She has extensive experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research.

She is on the Leadership Team of a £2m GCRF programme that they lead in strategic partnership with UNICEF and supported by Yale, Harvard, NYU. The programme works in six low- and middle-income countries and she is strategic lead for two of these. This role has led to invitations to speak at a variety of stakeholder meetings, including government representatives and ministers.

The objective of the research activity is generate evidence to inform policy and practice.

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Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • Health and wellbeing in schools
  • Early childhood development
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  • Dr Dunne has established strong collaborative partnerships with the voluntary and statutory sectors to provide
    capacity building service design and research, with the aim of developing and evaluating evidence informed programmes.
  • She played a leading role in organising a conference bringing together world leading experts in the field of ECD for
    peacebuilding (May 2017). This fostered strong global links with prestigious partners such as Yale, Harvard, NYU
    and UNICEF. She jointly organised and led a network meeting (November 2017) for researchers and UNICEF
    partners from six LMICS at QUB, including workshops and capacity building training.
  • She has won small grants to engage children and the public in her research. One example involves extending the
    Wellbeing survey to Special Schools. She has also worked with the NI Assembly to train young people to conduct
    peer research on wellbeing.
  • She has provided professional development to over 200 teachers and has organised two conferences (2013; 2015),
    presenting local and national research findings to attendees from schools, academia, voluntary and policy sectors.
  • She has jointly led the organisation of two major international conferences: The Campbell Collaboration Colloquium
    (Belfast, 2014) and the What Works Global Summit (London, 2016).


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

School Of Social Sciences, Education And Social Work

Fellow of the PRP, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI)

Fellow of the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, NI


Research students

PhD title: To what extent does teacher training on using evidence-based practices in procedural implementation fidelity contribute to sustained effective practice?

Name: Ewan McRae
Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD title: Exploring Young People’s Social Networks and their Impact on Behaviour

Name: Deborah Webster
Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland


PhD title: Service Provision for Two Year Olds in Northern Ireland

Name: Suzanne Filis
Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland

Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Seaneen Sloan

PhD title: : Impact of early feeding practices and parent/child interaction on child growth

Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Lecturer, University College Dublin

Dr Sunyoung Lee

PhD title: Who do you think you are? The experiences of Chinese children growing up in Northern Ireland

Years of Study: 
Country: South Korea
Current position: CBT Counsellor, London

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