Professor of Psychology, The University of Queensland

Professor Karen Thorpe Is Professor and Group Leader at the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland. She completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology as a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Bristol in 1988. She is currently Professor at the Centre for Children’s Health Research at Queensland University of Technology and the Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation. Her research income exceeds $13 million including funds from USA (NIH), UK (MRC, Mental Health Foundation, NHS-R&D) and Australia (CAT 1 -ARC, NHMRC, philanthropy ; CAT 2 Government and NGO). She has served on the ARC College of Experts and the ARC centre of Excellence selection Committees.
Karen’s research program is in developmental science with particular interest in the effects of early childhood parental and non-parental care experiences on developmental trajectories across the lifespan. Her scholastic leadership is not only evidenced in her external grant success and high quality publication but also translation of research outcomes into social, education and health policy.. She has authored a book on later motherhood and published 106 peer reviewed papers. She has made significant contribution to development science through her leadership as Principal Psychologist in the large epidemiological study of development and well-being (ALSPAC, Inst. Child Health, Bristol), the use of twin design studies to establish environmental mechanisms in language development (Institute of Psychiatry, London) and large scale longitudinal studies of early parenting and educational environments (Inst. Child Health, Bristol, QUT/ University of Melbourne).
Karen has a strong commitment to research translation. Since 2005 she has authored 10 reports for State and Federal Government and non-government organisations. Most recently her team has translated their research on sleep in child care settings into a professional development program for educators and quality assessors. Her team is currently making films for parents based on this work funded by Department of Education. In 2013 Karen was named among Australia’s 100 Women of Influence for translation of her work into public policy.

Experience

  • 2015–present
    Professor, Centre For hildren's Health Research, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2008–2016
    Professor, ueensland University of Technology, School of Psychology and Counselling
  • 2004–2008
    Professor, Queensland University of Technology, School of Early Childhood
  • 2002–2004
    Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology, School of Early Childhood
  • 1999–2001
    Senior Lecturer, University of West of England
  • 1989–1999
    Research Fellow, University of Bristol
  • 1994–1999
    Honorary Research fellow, University of London, Institute of Psychiatry

Education

  • 1995 
    Open University, Grad. Diploma of Psychology
  • 1989 
    University of Bristol, Doctor of Philosophy ( Developmental Psychology)
  • 1985 
    University of London, Master of Arts ( Psychology of Children with Special Needs
  • 1982 
    University of Tasmania, Bachelor of Education ( Hons. 1)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    Growing a professional early childhood workforce to improve developmental and educational outcomes in early childhood
    Role:
    CIA
    Funding Source:
    ARC Linkage
  • 2012
    Optimising sleep health for Australian children: Understanding the effects of daytime sleep periods in childcare services.
    Role:
    CIA
    Funding Source:
    Financial Markets Foundation for Children
  • 2012
    Promoting protective feeding practices to prevent childhood obesity: follow up of a successful obesity prevention program commencing in infancy
    Role:
    CID
    Funding Source:
    NHMRC Project
  • 2011
    Interacting with knowledge, Interacting with people: Web searching in early childhood
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    ARC discovery
  • 2009
    : Assessing early education and care in Australian communities.
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    ARC linkage
  • 2005
    Compromised or competent: A longitudinal study of twin children's social competencies, friendships and behavioural adjustment,
    Role:
    CIA
    Funding Source:
    ARC Discovery
  • 2004
    A responsive evaluation of the Child Health Line
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    Royal Children's Hospital Foundation
  • 2003
    Parent attitudes and practices: settling infants under 12 weeks of age
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    Royal children's Hospital Foundation
  • 1996
    Twins as a natural experiment to study language delay: continuation study.
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    National Health Service Uk , Research and Development
  • 1995
    Effects of drinking and nursing on child development: an epidemiological study
    Role:
    CIC
    Funding Source:
    NIAAA, USA
  • 1993
    The effects of early adverse events in the lives of parents on their performance as parents and partners
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    MRC, UK
  • 1992
    Twins as a natural experiment to assess the causes of language delay.
    Role:
    CIC
    Funding Source:
    Mental Health Foundation, UK
  • 1991
    ) Health care practices and prevalence of depression following miscarriage.
    Role:
    CIB
    Funding Source:
    Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust.

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Research in Child Development

Research Areas

  • Developmental Psychology And Ageing (170102)
  • Early Childhood Education (Excl. Maori) (130102)

Honours

2013 Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence