Research team

The Growing Up in Australia consortium

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children is conducted in partnership between the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

DSS provides overall management of Growing Up in Australia on behalf of the Australian Government.

AIFS is responsible for the design and content of the study, data management and research and dissemination.

ABS is responsible for data collection and delivery, instrument development and management of the Growing Up in Australia sample.

A consortium of leading researchers at research institutions and universities throughout Australia provides advice to the study. The consortium brings together significant research and management expertise. It includes researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including child and adolescent development, sociology, epidemiology, public health, family studies, psychology, paediatrics, mental health, education and employment, services and social policy research, and economics. This breadth of expertise ensures comprehensive coverage of influences on child, adolescent and early adulthood development.

AIFS’ Growing Up in Australia team

Position Name
Project Director Dr Galina Daraganova
Senior Survey Manager Dr Karena Jessup
Survey Manager Ms Tamara Taylor
Data Manager Mr Jatender Mohal
Research Fellow Ms Suzanne Vassallo
Senior Research Officer Ms Jessie Dunstan
Senior Research Officer Mr Jacob Duffy
Senior Research Officer Ms Elsie Foeken
Research Officer Ms Mari Wild

Consortium Advisory Group (CAG) members

LSAC is supported by Associate Professor Ann Sanson as Principal Scientific Advisor, and the Consortium Advisory Group (CAG) which provides expert advice on the methodology and content of Growing Up in Australia. The CAG is chaired by Professor Jan Nicholson and its membership is as follows:

Photograph of Professor Jan Nicholson, Centre Director of La Trobe University’s Judith Lumley Centre, and the Inaugural Roberta Holmes Professor.

Professor Jan Nicholson is Centre Director of La Trobe University’s Judith Lumley Centre, and the Inaugural Roberta Holmes Professor. She leads a research program that seeks to build knowledge of the challenges facing contemporary parents and how parents can be supported across the life course.

Jan’s research spans two complementary fields: epidemiological and cohort studies to identify the determinants and trajectories of parent and child health and wellbeing; and intervention studies that apply these learnings to develop and evaluate effective, sustainable early interventions. She is an Honorary Principal Research Fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology.

Photograph of Dr Amanda Cooklin is a social scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University

Dr Amanda Cooklin is a social scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, leading the work–family research area within the Centre's 'Transition to Contemporary Parenthood Program'.

She is an expert in the epidemiology of parents' mental health, the social determinants of parenting, and the work–family interface. Her research comprises epidemiological cohort studies and intervention trials. 

Chris Ryan is part of the Economics of Education and Child Development Program at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Chris Ryan joined the Economics of Education and Child Development Program at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in April 2011. Before that, he was employed at other Australian universities and in the Australian Government. He undertook his training in economics at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University.

Dr Ryan has extensive experience in designing, undertaking and managing research projects, developing policy and providing advice to government Ministers and senior government and university staff.  He has managed whole research programs, focused on economic issues surrounding education, for key Commonwealth and State government departments for the past fifteen years.

Photograph of Professor Ann Sanson, Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Ann Sanson is a developmental psychologist whose main research has been on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents, and how these are shaped by individual, family, community and environmental factors. She is also an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Involved in longitudinal research since 1983, Ann was the initial Project Director of LSAC and is now its Principal Scientific Adviser. 

The focus of her current work is how the climate crisis will affect today’s young people and future generations.

Associate Professor Ben Edwards is a Senior Fellow at the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods where he is focused on policy relevant research on child and youth development and advising and supporting longitudinal studies. He has been involved with LSAC in some capacity for almost a decade. His research interests include understanding the impact of social, familial and institutional environments on human development; longitudinal study methodology and data linkage; evaluation of government programs for disadvantaged children; the intergenerational impacts of traumatic experiences on offspring; and the impact of natural disasters on human development.

Photograph of Donna Berthelsen, Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology.

Donna Berthelsen holds qualifications in psychology and education and is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. She has been the Education Design Team Leader in LSAC since 2002. Her research addresses applied issues about children’s learning in families, early childhood programs, and school systems, through large scale and linked studies. 

She has extensive experience in research commissioned by government and community agencies involving multi-disciplinary teams, and conducted in partnership with end-users. Donna is also the Editor of the International Journal of Early Childhood

Photograph of Dr Julie Moschion, Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute:

Dr Julie Moschion is a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris 1 (2009). Julie participated in designing the Journeys Home Survey, a longitudinal study of Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

Her current research revolves around disadvantage in education, housing, health and labour economics. Specifically, she works on homelessness and precarious housing, substance use, incarceration, gender gaps in education, peer effects and female's labour market participation.

Photograph of Lisa Smithers, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Adelaide.

Lisa Smithers is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Adelaide. Lisa is also a registered nutritionist. Her research interests encompass paediatrics, epidemiology and public health; in particular, around understanding how early life events (during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood) lead to longer-term improvements to health and human capital. 

Her methodological expertise includes large population-based datasets, randomised controlled trials, and systematic reviews. Lisa is also interested in contemporary methods for making better causal inference from observational data.

Photograph of Professor Lyndall Lyndall Strazdins, Clinical Psychologist and Professor (National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health) and Director of the Research School of Population Health (ANU).

Professor Lyndall Strazdins  is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, and the Director of the Research School of Population Health at ANU. She is an ARC-awarded Future Fellow investigating time as a resource for health and how time structure power relations, gender inequality and peoples’ capacity to be healthy, especially in families. 

Lyndall leads the work and family component of LSAC, and serves as a scientific consultant to government. Her research focuses on contemporary predicaments of work and care and their health and equity consequences, viewing health as inter-linked within families.

Photograph of Dr Meredith O'Connor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Australian National University.

Dr Meredith O'Connor is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Australian National University. Her research investigates how schools can best support children and young people to thrive, across both their mental health and learning pathways, and particularly for those who are most vulnerable. 

She draws on powerful existing data resources, such as LSAC, and aims to generate policy-relevant evidence with clear applications.

Photograph of Michael Bittman, Emeritus Professor in Sociology at University of New England

Michael Bittman is an Emeritus Professor in Sociology at University of New England. He was President of The International Association for Time Use Research from 2005 to 2013. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and has published on the sexual division of labour, intra-household bargaining, work–family balance, information and communication technologies, children’s activities, population health and reliability and validity of time diaries. 

Michael is currently co-editing a training manual on how to analyse time use data for the UN, and is part of a team of researchers investigating the changes in the social organisation of eating in the last quarter century.

Tim Slade is an Associate Professor, Sydney Medical School / The Matilda Centre

Associate Professor Tim Slade’s research interests centre around the diagnosis and epidemiology of alcohol and drug use disorders, mental disorders and their comorbidity. He focuses on adolescent and young adult health and study the influence of individual, peer and family factors on the emergence and development of alcohol use and mental disorders. Other interests include the development of school-based programs for the prevention of alcohol-related harms among adolescents.

Photograph of Professor David Preen, Chair in Public Health at the School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia (UWA)

Professor David Preen is the Chair in Public Health at the School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia (UWA). He was the Director of the UWA Centre for Health Services Research from 2006-2016 and holds  honorary positions at the University of South Australia and the College of Medicine, Swansea University (UK). He has been involved with conducting health services research using population-based cohort and linked administrative data for over 15 years to study areas including cancer service delivery, pharmaco-epidemiology, chronic disease management, health of marginalised populations, and methodological advances using data linkage.

CAG Expert Advisory Group

LSAC Expert Advisors perform an adjunct advisory role on specific issues relating to LSAC content development, survey methodologies or data analysis. Its membership is as follows:

  • Professor Stephen Zubrick (CAG chair 2000-2018), Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute and Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
  • Dr. John Ainley, Principal Research Fellow and former Head of Research at Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne
  • Dr Bruce Bradbury, Senior Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  • Assoc. Professor Linda Harrison, School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University - Bathurst
  • Professor Bryan Rodgers, Family Health and Wellbeing, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University
  • Professor Michael Sawyer, Research and Evaluation Unit, Women's and Children's Hospital, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide

Child Health Checkpoint Expert Advisor

  • Professor Melissa Wake,  paediatrician, community child health researcher, and Scientific Director, the Generation Victoria (GenV)

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