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Jennifer Davidson

Professor and Executive Director, Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures, University of Strathclyde

Professor Jennifer Davidson is the Executive Director of Inspiring Children’s Futures, and the founding Director of CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection).

Inspiring Children's Futures is an international research, policy and practice implementation group with a collective vision of ensuring that children and young people have what they need to reach their full potential, particularly those who experience adversity.

Jennifer’s interests lie in the relationship between children’s rights and their lived experiences, and in the impact and value of international rights and standards to national and regional practice in children's services. The mechanisms to promote meaningful and sustainable impact, from policy into children’s day-to-day lives, are at the heart of her work.

Jennifer works to embed children’s human rights into the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example as Project Director of the Justice for Children, Justice for All Global Initiative in collaboration with the United Nations-sponsored Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. Jennifer’s leadership of international child rights projects has driven change for children over many years through the implementation of the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children, for example as Project Director for the Moving Forward: Implementing the UN Guidelines handbook. This is also evident in her recent partnership initiative founding the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights in Scotland.

Jennifer’s experience spans North America and Europe, where she has held leadership positions in child and youth care, social work and professional education. Jennifer has served on national and international committees related to children’s services, and was a founding member of the US National Campaign for the Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Jennifer is on secondment from her Executive Director role at CELCIS. She previously directed the University of Strathclyde’s Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC)—the predecessor to CELCIS—which led the successful decade-long workforce change programme across Scotland’s residential child care services. While at the University, Jennifer has led and managed the securing and delivery of over £65M in grant funding.


  • –present
    Executive director, CELCIS, University of Strathclyde


Order of the British Empire