Research highlights

Current Australian Research Council (ARC) projects

Beyond safety: Ethical practice involving children

This project aims to investigate the role of ethical practice in improving child safety. Focusing especially on those who are at greater risk of harm, the findings will contribute to ensuring Australia’s children are safe and treated with dignity and respect. Expected outcomes include better-targeted, child-informed policy and practice for organisations involved with children, and important knowledge for organisations seeking to optimise, promote and protect children’s safety and wellbeing.


Professor Anne Graham (Southern Cross University)
Sally Robinson (Southern Cross University)
Morag McArthur (ACU)
Timothy Moore (ACU)
Nigel Thomas (Southern Cross University)
Donnah Anderson (CSU)
Nicola Taylor (University of Otago)


ARC Discovery Grant: $463,136 (2018 round)

Young people with cognitive disability: relationships and paid support

This project aims to improve the rights and wellbeing of young people with cognitive disability by exploring their relationship and interaction with paid support workers. The introduction of national individualised funding and support is a watershed in Australian disability policy.

Understanding the role that paid support plays in the ongoing identity development of these young people is urgently needed to realise national policy aspirations for people with disability of rights, choice, inclusion and independence. Using social geography and recognition theory, the project expects to deliver new understanding and improved practice around how paid support relationships can foster mutual care, respect and value at a critically important time in young people's lives.


Dr Sally Robinson
Professor Anne Graham
Associate Professor Karen Fisher (University of New South Wales)
Professor Kelley Johnson (University of New South Wales)
Gordon Duff (National Disability Services)
Terri Mears (Northcott Disability Services)
Dr Edward Hall (University of Dundee)
NSW Department of Family, Communities, Ageing, Disability and Home Care


ARC Linkage Grant: $360,900.00 (2015 round)

Addressing the tensions between the protection of children and their participation in research

There is a growing consensus that children's involvement in social research is important, but considerable uncertainty remains around children's inclusion in research on 'sensitive' issues, reflecting concerns about how to balance children's protection with their participation. Key to this are deeply embedded assumptions and beliefs about children and childhood, especially concerning notions of capacity, agency, vulnerability, dependency and the like. This project aims to better understand and address the tensions between the protection of children and their participation in research, and to explore how ethics committees, parents, other gatekeepers and children themselves manage and navigate these tensions.


Professor Anne Graham (Southern Cross University)
Professor Morag McArthur (ACU)
Dr Merle Spriggs
Dr Jennifer Chalmers


ARC Discovery Grant: $335,500.00 (2014 round).

Further details

ARC Discovery projects funding outcomes

Current/Recent National and International Research Activities

Launch of the Research Handbook and Companion on ChildhoodNature in April 2018

A cohort of staff and research students recently launched the international Research Handbook and Companion on ChildhoodNature at the American Education Research Association (AERA) in New York USA. The editors of the handbook are Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, Karen Malone and Elisabeth Barratt.

This handbook provides a compilation of research in ChildhoodNature and brings together existing research themes and seminal authors in the field alongside new cutting edge research authored by world class researchers drawing on cross cultural and international research data.

The underlying objectives of the handbook are two-fold:

  • Opening up spaces for ChildhoodNature researchers;
  • Consolidating ChildhoodNature research into one collection that informs Education.

 Other projects:

Further information

Featured Early Career Researcher

Dr Lisa Jacka

Dr Lisa Jacka is an early career researcher with a passion for integrating digital technology into the education landscape through the use of innovative pedagogies. Read more of Lisa's story.