Nature / Nurture Debate Needs New Child-centred Focus – AIB Professor of Childhood Research

Posted on: 20 April 2006

First university professorship in Ireland dedicated to
research on children and young people

Children’s contribution to their own development has always been underestimated. This was stated on 20 April 2006 by Prof Sheila Greene in her inaugural lecture to mark the new AIB Chair in Childhood Research at Trinity College. “If we don’t recognise children as important co-constructors of their development, we can undermine their efforts to become self-regulating young people and to make a positive and competent contribution to their families, schools and communities,” Prof Greene warned.

Announcing the appointment of Prof Greene, the Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty emphasised that action is needed on many issues that affect the lives of children and young people but that it is essential that this is underpinned by evidence and research.  “This new professorship – the first in Ireland in this field – reflects the importance of research to our understanding of children’s lives and the development of the best policies and services for children in Ireland. This is an exciting development for the College and the Children’s Research Centre (a joint initiative of the Schools of Psychology and Social Work and Social Policy). It builds on Trinity’s track record in conducting research of direct relevance to social issues and social policy and recognises the achievements of the Children’s Research Centre, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last year.

“The new chair has been endowed in perpetuity by the Allied Irish Banks and the Atlantic Philanthropies and has been designated the AIB Chair in Childhood Research. Both the Atlantic Philanthropies – through its programme of funding for disadvantaged children and youth – and AIB – through its Better Ireland programme – have a major commitment to improving the lives of children and young people in Ireland.”

Eugene Sheehy, CEO, AIB stated that “There is a genuine and growing concern about the range and complexity of issues facing our young people today. We recognise the role that quality academic research plays in developing and safeguarding responsible and progressive attitudes to the issues that challenge both children and parents alike. AIB is delighted to support the Chair in Childhood Research.”