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Awardees announced for British Academy Early Childhood Development Programme

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The British Academy is delighted to announce the successful applicants to its new Early Childhood Development Programme.

The programme is part of the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund and a partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.

Altogether, the Academy will support ten major research projects in the UK and overseas through this programme, with awards of up to £350,000 each.

The overall aim of the programme is to ensure that the best UK and overseas research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries.

It is hoped that the research projects funded under the programme will generate evidence to inform future policies and interventions regarding early childhood development.

In particular, the projects seek to facilitate the transformation of the life chances and destinies of young children in lower and middle-income countries.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA, who chaired the Final Awards Panel for the Early Childhood Development Programme, described the need to improve early childhood development around the world as “central” to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

He said: “There is limited evidence on early childhood development models that work at scale in developing countries. There is also a distinct need for interaction and cross-learning between disciplines, sectors and actors in the context of early childhood development research and policy action.

“The projects supported by the British Academy through its Early Childhood Development Programme have been selected for their potential to address existing research gaps and bolster policy interventions in low resource countries around the globe.”

The 2017 awardees are:

• Dr Helen Baker-Henningham, Reader in Child Development and Behaviour, Bangor University – Scaling up an Early Childhood Development Intervention by Integrating into Health Services in Bangladesh

• Professor Oriana Bandiera, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science – Economic Conditions in Early Childhood and the Inter-Generational Transmission of Poverty

• Professor Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – The Impact of Parental Education on Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Long-Term Tracking of a Randomised Evaluation in Ghana

• Professor Paula Griffiths, Professor of Population Health, Loughborough University – Testing the Feasibility of Incorporating Support for Early Childhood Development into the Baby Friendly Community Initiative in Kenya

• Dr Jyotsna Jha, Director of the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, India – Examining the Contexts, Practices and Costs of Early Childhood Care and Education in India: Responsive Models for Child Development

• Professor Patricia Justino, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies – Scaling-Up Early Child Development Interventions in Rwanda

• Professor Francisca Mutapi, Professor of Global Health Infection and Immunity, University of Edinburgh – Providing the Evidence Base and Tools for Prioritising and Implementing Paediatric Schistosomiasis Control to Enhance Early Childhood Development

• Dr Keetie Roelen, Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Centre for Social Protection, Institute of Development Studies – Pathways to Stronger Futures in Haiti: How Can Economic Strengthening Through Comprehensive Social Protection Improve Early Childhood Development?

• Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall, Reader in Health and Development Economics, University College London – Developing a Scalable Programme to Promote Early Childhood Nutrition and Development in Rural Uganda: A Feasibility Study

• Dr Sharon Wolf, Assistant Professor in Human Development and Education, University of Pennsylvania – Assessing Sustained Impacts of the Quality Preschool for Ghana Teacher Training Intervention on Children’s Early Primary Grade Outcomes

For further details about the ten research projects funded, please see here.

For more information on the Early Childhood Development Programme, visit

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