School of Psychology


Search begins for adoption expert to lead new centre

The University has this week begun its search for an expert to lead a new research centre focusing on the major challenges facing adopted children and their families.

The new Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice is being established with a generous £1.5 million donation by Sussex graduate Andrew Rudd and his wife Virginia, whose interest stems from their own experience as adoptive parents. 

Psychologists, social workers and education specialists at the University will be looking at the many and profound ways through which early separation or trauma followed by adoption shapes the lives of all those involved. 

Now the University is inviting applications for a new Professor of Psychology to be the centre’s founding Director.

Due to be in post by December 2012, the new Director will, according to the job advert published this week, “embrace teaching and research to inform adoption practice and policy”.

The advert continues: “We are particularly interested in applications from candidates who can capitalise on recent advances in developmental neuroscience, in order to understand and support the development and well-being of children and young people who have been adopted, and their families.”

Specific areas of interest will include:

  • How separation, institutionalisation, maltreatment and other trauma influence child development and family life in adoption
  • How new research insights in fields ranging from neuroscience to social policy can be used to inform practice
  • International adoption and cross-cultural placement. 

Head of the School of Psychology, Professor Pete Clifton, said: “Sussex already has world-recognised expertise in this field. We hope that an interdisciplinary approach, involving the latest research in social care, psychology and the life sciences, will help to solve some of the critical issues of adoption.” 

Virginia Rudd said: “We are very excited to be working with Sussex on this critical project. Sussex brings an amazing array of talent and facilities that will enable the Centre to advance an important research and policy agenda to help inform the practical, everyday issues of adopted children and their families.” 

The new centre is also welcomed by John Simmonds, Director of Policy Research Development at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). He said: “Adoption touches a very significant proportion of the community in various ways. This new Centre will facilitate the further development of evidence-based policy and practice to ensure the very best of what we know and do influences this fundamentally life changing process. BAAF looks forward to supporting the Centre in its future work.” 

The centre is one of the projects in the University's 50th anniversary fundraising campaign, Making the Future. Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends of the University, over fifty per cent of the £50 million target of the campaign has already been pledged and received. The campaign will run until June 2016.

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Posted on behalf of: School of Psychology
Last updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2012