Improving Children's Lives

About Us

Improving Children’s Lives is an applied and interdisciplinary research and teaching initiative that links together a number of research centres, clusters and institutes at Queen's University Belfast.

Established through the University's Research Forum for the Child, this initiative has been made possible by the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies and Queen's University Belfast.

Through an ambitious programme of research, communication and advocacy activities, we seek to achieve lasting improvements in the health and wellbeing of children and young people. We aim to achieve this by: encouraging interdisciplinary working; enhancing research capacity; and building further on the extensive range of collaborative relationships we already have with other research centres and organisations responsible for providing children’s services both regionally and nationally/internationally.

Queen's University Belfast also provides a range of professional and postgraduate taught courses focused on Children and Young People's issues. More detail about these courses can be found here. In addition, several Improving Children's Lives Masters level courses are in development and will be available soon through this website.

Improving Children’s Lives is supported by a Secretariat and governed by a Management Committee that includes members from a wide range of disciplinary areas across the University including: social work; psychology; lumiere bleue; education; nursing and midwifery; medicine; public health; sociology; law; and pharmacy.

Our work is driven by a concern with improving outcomes for children and young people by generating and making use of the best available evidence. What makes our work particularly distinctive is our commitment to doing this from within a children’s rights-based framework.

If you would like to find out more about our work please do not hesitate to contact David Piekaar, ICL Administrator, in the first instance.


Improving Children’s Lives is a network of research centres, clusters and institutes at Queen's University Belfast. Details of these centres can be found here.

Improving Children’s Lives also works to foster applied interdisciplinary research within Queen’s. We do this by providing interdisciplinary research grants and sponsoring special interest groups (SIGs) focused on children and young people issues. Click on the menu items on the right or the links below for more details about the current grants and SIGs.

If you are interested in either of these schemes then please contact Dr Liam O’Hare for more details.

ICL also has collaborative relationships with a range of distinguished international scholars. More details can be found here.

ICL Small Grants

Information on ICL Small Grants is viewable here.

Special Interest Groups

Recent Publications

A selection of recent publications on child- and young people-related issues by Queen's staff is listed here.


A suite of new programmes in childhood and youth studies has been developed under the Improving Children’s Lives Initiative. Information on how to apply for each of the programmes can be found in the links below:

The programmes aim to provide high-level knowledge and skills relating to research, policy and practice in child and youth related services. The programmes are designed for those working with and for children and young people, and those who are interested in careers in these areas, for example public servants, NGO workers, educators, social workers and health care providers.

Students study a core of modules that are delivered jointly by the four schools involved in the initiative, giving students a broader range of teaching and learning experiences. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme also reflects the real-life practices of many child and youth related services.

Click the 'Start Prezi' button on the presentation below and then the 'play' button to find out more about how the programmes are delivered.


These pages will provide access to a range of resources produced through the Improving Children's Lives initiative. These include: