My main research leadership concerns two on-going funded research programmes:
Research programme 1: Evidence-based decision making and intervention in ASD
Over the years I have been involved in a range of research regarding evidence-based practice, most notably in clinical psychology practice, parent training, child sex abuse, child protection, behavioural social work, and child behaviour management. My most sustained input into the literature in the field has been in relation to early behavioural interventions, social validity, and parent training in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
I have collaborated with the charity sector in securing a number of substantial grants, e.g., from the Big Lottery and Children in Need (approx £1,000,000). Since this funding was granted to the charity, it does not appear on QUB data-base. However, I was instrumental in securing the funding and conducting the research/publications emanating from the work.
I was the driving force in obtaining book contracts from an internationally renowned publisher in the field of autism.
Research programme 2: Bereavement, trauma, and political conflict
Starting in the mid 1980s when I conducted the first in-depth study of violent conjugal bereavement in Northern Ireland for my own PhD (Dillenburger, 1992) this programme of work has led to new conceptual and theory developments in bereavement, trauma, and the effects of violent conflict. In 2005-2007, I was sole Principle Investigator of a 27-months major research project, funded through the Strategic Implementation Fund (Office First Minister and Deputy First Minister OFMDFM, NI; approx. £160,000), an Exploration of evidence-based practice for victims of community violence, on which two international researchers (Fargas from Spain and Akhonzada from Tunisia) were employed. The project lead to numerous international publications and conference presentations (Austria, Tunisia, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong) and invited journal articles.
On the basis of this research, I have been awarded the Outstanding Service/Project Award (Professional) by the 5 th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health (2006; Hong Kong, China). I have edited special editions for serval journals.