• Room 02.006 - 8 College Green

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Health and wellbeing in schools - Early childhood development


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile



My research interests lie in three main areas: child health and wellbeing; early child development and social cohesion; and programme evaluation with a particular interest in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).


Research Interests

I have extensive experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research. I have completed a number of major evaluation and research projects and am committed to research in the field of child development and the improvement of outcomes for children, particularly in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). 

I am a Fellow of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, QUB.

I am a Fellow of the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Northern Ireland.


Additional roles:

Member of Senior Management Team, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation(Education Theme Lead) (2019-)

Research Impact and Public Engagement Champion (School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) (2018-)

NINE Pathway Leadat Queen’s University Belfast, Health, Well-Being and Society (2018-). 

Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership (NINE DTP) is a collaborative enterprise between seven Universities across Northern Ireland and the North East of England, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, with support from the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfENI). 

 Member of Research Committee (School of Social Science, Education and Social Work) (2019-)

Program Co-ChairAmerican Educational Research Association (AERA) Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Special Interest Group (2018-)


Athena SWAN Champion for School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (2014-2018). I led the School of Education's first successful Bronze Awardapplication (2016).


Member of the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account Steering Committee, QUB (2019-)

Member of Cross-Faculty and Joint Degrees Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Sub-Group(2016-2018)

Member of School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work School Management Board(SMB) (2016-2018) 

Member of School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work Research Ethics Committee(2016-)

Mentor, Queen’s Gender Initiative(2016-).

Personal Development Review (PDR)reviewer, SSESW (2019-)


 Current and recently completed projects:

NIHR Global Health Research Group on Early Childhood Development for Peacebuilding at Queen’s University Belfast Funder: NIHR (£2million) Role: Co-Investigator. 

Team: Connolly, P. (PI), Dunne, L., Kee, F., McGovern, M., Miller, S., Taylor, L., Winter, K.,  and Woodcock, K. Role: Co-Investigator and member of Leadership Team

This project aims to study the potential for ECD (early childhood development) programmes to promote sustainable development and peacebuilding. The team will establish an international network of researchers from several low and middle income countries (LMICs) that have been affected by ethnic divisions and political violence. The network will build research capacity in those countries and help to support the development and robust evaluation of ECD services, thus contributing to the international evidence base.

 The team is working with several strategic partners, including UNICEF, the Yale Child Study Center, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the Global TIES for Children research center at New York University and the Early Childhood Peace Consortium.


An Evaluation of Nuffield Early Learning Intervention (2016-2018) Funder: Education Endowment Foundation (£133,022). Role: Principal Investigator

Team: Dunne, L. , Miller, S., Gildea, A. and McCartan, C.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI)is an evidence-based oral language intervention for children in nursery and reception who show weakness in their oral language skills. These children are at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading. The programme aims to improve spoken language skills such as vocabulary knowledge, story-telling and listening skills.   The team conducted a baseline measure of language and literacy abilities in Reception year children in 182 schools.


 Project Daire: Derry/Londonderry as the nexus city for food, education, trust and health. (Funder: Invest Northern Iireland (£727,000). Role: Co-Investigator.

Team: Woodside, J., Dean, M., Dunne, L., Elliott, C., Hunter, R., McCole, P., McKinley, M. & O'Connell, N.


Using Game Theory to assess the effects of social norms and social networks on adolescent smoking in schools: a proof of concept studyFunder: Medical Research Council (£727,000). Role: Co-Investigator 

Team: Kee, F., Dunne, L., Hunter, R., Kumar, R. and Zhou, H.


AnEvaluation of Peeple Learning Together Programme (2016-2018)Funder: Education Endowment Foundation (£233,854). Role: Co-investigator 

Team: Miller, S., Dunne, L., Laishley, A. and Smith, A.

 Peep Learning Together Programme(LTP), established in 1995 helps parents and carers to make the most of everyday learning opportunities with their children. The programme is offered on a universal basis to families in its catchment area. Peep aims to improve overall attainment, but has a particular focus on literacy.  This randomised controlled trial evalaution, being conducted across 130 Nursery settings, aims to explore the impact of the Peep programme on parent and child outcomes.


Wellbeing in Schools Survey (WiSe) (2014-) Funder: Public Health Agency/COEPHNI

Team: Connolly, P., Kee, F., Dunne, L., Davison, J. and Lloyd, K.

This survey began in 2014 as a Year 8 extension of the Young People’s Behaviour and Attitudes Survey (YPBAS). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has been commissioned by a number of government and public bodies to carry out this work in 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 and most recently in 2013. This school based survey aims to capture the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviours of 11-16 year olds in Northern Ireland. Survey items cover a broad range of physical and mental health and wellbeing measures. 


A randomised controlled trial evaluation of Cancer Focus NI’s smoking prevention programme among Year 9 pupils in Northern Ireland (2014-2015)Funder:Public Health Agency (£79.000)

Team:Thurston, A. , Dunne, L., Gildea, A., Kee, F., Lazenbatt, A. and Britton, J.

This project aims to test the feasibility of scaling the ‘Dead Cool’ programme. The project evaluated how effect the Dead Cool programme is at reducing smoking behaviours and changing reported attitudes to smoking in Year 9 students.


A randomised controlled trial of the Lifestart parenting programme (2008 – 2014)

Funder: Atlantic Philanthropies (£979,000)

Team: Miller, S., Dunne, L., Millen, S., Neeson, L. and McGeady, C.

This randomised controlled trial evaluated the impact of the Lifestart parenting initiative, a five-year home visiting programme, on parent and child outcomes. 424 parents and children aged less than 12 months were recruited from across Ireland and randomly assigned to either the intervention or control group.  The intervention group received the programme for five years; the control group did not, but continued as normal.  Both groups were tested at three time points: pre-test, mid-point (child aged 3 years) and post-test (child aged 5 years). 




EDU7200 Assessment Issues in Teaching and Learning in Classrooms (Module Convenor, 2016-2017; 2017-2018; 2018-2019); (Module Co-Convenor, 2019-2020; 2020-2021)

EDU7257 An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (2015-16) (Module Convenor)

EDU7208 Educational and Professional Studies (2015-16; 2016-2017; 2017-2018) (Tutor)

EDU7321 An Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Education (2014-15) (Module Convenor)


EDD9065 Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood (Module Convenor) (2015-16; 2016-2017; 2017-2018;2020-2021)

SOC9032 The Measurement of Child Development (2014-15)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Laura Dunne is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 5 Similar Profiles

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    66 Downloads (Pure)

    MECHANISMS Study: Using Game Theory to assess the effects of social norms and social networks on adolescent smoking in schools – study protocol

    Hunter, R., Montes, F., Murray, J., Sanchez-Franco, S. C., Montgomery, S., Jaramillo, J., Tate, C., Kumar, R., Dunne, L., Ramalingam, A., Kimbrough, E., Krupka, E., Zhou, H., Moore, L., Bauld, L., Llorente, B., Sarmiento, O. L. & Kee, F., 04 Aug 2020, In : Frontiers in public health. 8, 14 p., 377.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 9 Downloads (Pure)

    A feasibility study of 'The StepSmart Challenge' to promote physical activity in adolescents

    Corepal, R., Best, P., O'Neill, R., Kee, F., Badham, J., Dunne, L., Miller, S., Connolly, P., Cupples, M. E., Van Sluijs, E. M. F., Tully, M. A. & Hunter, R. F., 17 Nov 2019, In : Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 5, 1, 15 p., 132.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 49 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    34 Downloads (Pure)
    145 Downloads (Pure)


    Athena SWAN Charter for women in science Bronze Award

    Dunne, Laura (Recipient), 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    Public Health Research (Journal)

    Laura Dunne (Peer reviewer)

    2020 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Osh State University

    Paul Connolly (Participant), , Sarah Miller (Participant), & Laura Dunne (Participant)

    Jun 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    What Works Global Summit, Mexico

    Laura Dunne (Participant)

    16 Oct 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Chaim Sheba Medical Center Israel

    Paul Connolly (Participant), , Nicole Craig (Participant), , Laura Dunne (Participant), & Sarah Miller (Participant)

    Mar 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    Press / Media

    Early Child Development Conference at Yale, co-hosted by LINKS Study team, QUB

    Laura Dunne & Sarah Miller


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities


    Understanding the disparity of educational attainment: The role of socio-demographic and school factors on GCSE attainment in Northern Ireland

    Author: Early, E., Dec 2020

    Supervisor: Miller, S. (Supervisor), Dunne, L. (Supervisor) & Thurston, A. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy