Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice officially launched

Credit: Sophie Sheinwald

A new research centre that will focus on promoting knowledge and implementing support for vulnerable children and families in the UK, with an emphasis on the specific challenges faced by adopted children and their families, has its official launch at the University of Sussex on 1 April 2014.

The Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice  has been established with a generous £1.5 million donation by Sussex graduate Andrew Rudd and his wife Virginia, whose interest stems from their experience as the parents of both adopted and biological children.

The Rudds will be among those attending a special launch event in the Michael Chowen Lecture Theatre on campus. Speakers include eminent experts in child and adolescent development Professor Sir Michael Rutter and Professor Anita Thapar, and Dr John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

The aim of the new Centre is to advance insights into the social, psychological, and community-based processes that play a role in the development of children and young people across multiple family contexts. It will draw on recent scientific and practice-based advances to inform our knowledge of how adoption, family separation, institutionalisation, foster-care, maltreatment and other family processes influence children’s development, with a core orientation toward highlighting factors that promote children’s positive development and how supports may be offered early to those most vulnerable and at-risk.

A unique initiative in the UK, the Rudd Centre is fundamentally directed towards advancing scientific knowledge, practice improvements and policy developments around vulnerable children and families. In order to attain these core objectives, the Centre will bring together researchers, clinicians, practitioners and educators working in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, law, social work and education at Sussex and beyond.

Professor Gordon Harold, the Centre’s new director, said: “This is a unique initiative both for Sussex and the UK in that it is singularly directed toward advancing scientific knowledge, practice improvements and most importantly policy developments around vulnerable children and families.

“There has never been a greater need to provide evidence-guided practice and policies that promote more positive developmental outcomes for children.”

Virginia and Andrew 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.”

Notes for editors

  • Attendance to the launch is by invitation only. If you would like register to receive updates on the progress of the Centre, please email: with your details.
  • Professor Gordon Harold is Andrew and Virginia Rudd Chair in Psychology and Director of the Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice at the University of Sussex. Professor Harold is an internationally renowned expert in child development and the role of the family in children’s psychological development.
  • University of Sussex Press Office:,  Tel: 01283 678888

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Friday, 28 March 2014