Aoife O’Higgins


I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Calleva Research Centre at Magdalen College and the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. We work with the history department to investigate life course outcomes of people who experienced adversity in childhood.

I worked as a practitioner for nearly 10 years in NGOs and local government before making the move to research. My work and research focus on the well-being and rights of marginalised children and young people. I investigate risk and protective factors for well-being across the life span, to generate evidence for effective interventions.

I completed my doctorate at the Rees Centre (University of Oxford) in 2018. My research looked at the processes underlying the low educational attainment of children in care. I conducted longitudinal analyses using a large administrative Canadian dataset.

I also have a long standing interest in the well-being of refugee and migrant children and participate in a number of related research projects.

I have a MA in Refugee Studies (2010) from the University of East London and a MSc in Evidence Based Social Interventions (2012) from the University of Oxford.

I have remained involved with practice and the NGO sector through consultancy work. I provide training and services to NGOs, lecture on social work courses, and conduct small-scale research projects and evaluations for charities.

I am vice chair of the board of governors at St Francis CofE primary school in East Oxford. I am also chair the curriculum committee and responsible for safeguarding, assessment and staff well-being.

I am project co-ordinator for the Oxford Refugee Health Initiative, a new project, which matches medical students to newly arrived refugee families in Oxford.

I have also founded Oxford Pregnancy and Parenting after Loss Support, which brings together those who have lost children and are currently pregnant or parenting.

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