Dr Robert Urquhart is Principal Researcher, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA). He is a highly experienced research manager, social science researcher and social policy analyst. His recently completed PhD investigates cognitively talented children’s constructions of their friendships from their perspective. The thesis explores the positive informal support children experience from friendship, using an innovative methodology that foregrounds the voice of the child.
Before joining ACWA, Robert was previously Centre Manager and Research Fellow/Honorary Lecturer at the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC), School of Education, UNSW. Prior to that, he was Research Program Co-ordinator at the then Social Justice Social Change Research Centre, University of Western Sydney; and Principal Research Officer, UnitingCareBurnside, where he established their R&D wing. Robert was Senior Research Officer at the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), UNSW, where he was a national technical expert advising the OECD on cross-national long-term trends in household poverty and inequality in G8 countries, with Professor Peter Saunders (UNSW).
He is a trained social worker and has a Master of Philosophy from the University of Sydney. Robert is leading Strand 3 (outcome focused practice and data collection) of ACWA’s Best Practice Unit Initiative. Robert has conducted collaborative research on the non-government workforce (with FaCS) and on engaging socially isolated mothers (with the Infant’s Home Child and Family Services Ashfield). He is currently collaborating with Professor Elizabeth Fernandez (UNSW) on a research project on educational outcomes for children in long-term foster care (with Barnardos Australia).