Professor Karen Thorpe is Deputy Director and Group Leader in Early Development, Education and Care at the Institute for Social Science Research, the University of Queensland. Her research examines the effects of children’s early life experiences on social, learning and health trajectories across the lifespan. Her particular interest is early childcare and education environments including family context, parent work, quality of care and education, and the early years workforce.
Karen was Foundation Psychologist on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children at the University of Bristol, UK; led the evaluation of the Preparing School Trial for Queensland Government; led the Queensland team of the E4Kids study of quality in Australian Early Education and Care and; in partnership with Queensland Government, Goodstart Early Learning and the Creche and Kindergarten Association, led a study of the Australian ECEC workforce (ARC Linkage). She is chief investigator on the ARC Centres of Excellence (LCC -The Lifecourse Centre- focussing on disadvantage, and ACDC - Digital Child). In 2013 and again in 2019 Karen was named by the Australian Financial Review as among Australia’s 100 Women of Influence for the impacts of her research on educational and family policy.