Laura Dunne

    Laura Dunne

    Senior Lecturer

    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5042

    For media contact email
    or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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    My research interests lie in three main areas; child health and wellbeing, early child development and social cohesion, and programme evaluation. 

    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. 

    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:

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

    NINE Pathway Lead at 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).


    Program Co-Chair American 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 Award application (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-) 

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

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


     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 (£296,463). 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.   This cluster randomised controlled trial, across 200 schools, aims to explore the impact of the programme on language and literacy outcomes in Reception year children.


     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 study Funder: Medical Research Council (£727,000). Role: Co-Investigator 

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


    An Evaluation 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. The team aims to follow up this cohort every two years and the survey is currently being conducted with Year 12 students.


    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 (2016-2017; 2017-2018) (Module Convenor)

    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 (2015-16; 2016-2017; 2017-2018)

    SOC9032 The measurement of Child Development (2014-15)

    Willingness to take PhD students


    PhD projects

    - Health and wellbeing in schools
    - Early childhood development

    Frequent Journals

    • International Journal of Educational Research

      ISSNs: 0883-0355

      Elsevier BV

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.6 SJR 0.673 SNIP 1.141


    • Child Care in Practice

      ISSNs: 1357-5279, 1476-489X

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1476-489X


      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 0.61 SJR 0.27 SNIP 0.46


    • Adoption & Fostering Journal

      ISSNs: 0308-5759

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1740-469X

      British Association for Adoption & Fostering

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 0.51 SJR 0.248 SNIP 0.427


    • Journal of Interprofessional Care

      ISSNs: 1356-1820

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1469-9567

      Informa Healthcare

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 2.27 SJR 0.864 SNIP 1.142


    • Evidence Based Midwifery

      ISSNs: 1479-4489

      RCM The Royal College of Midwives

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 0.31 SJR 0.205 SNIP 0.461


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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 25424