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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Gilligan, Robert Henry
Main Department Social Studies
College Title Professor
College Tel  
Robbie Gilligan is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin. He served as founding Head of the School of Social Work and Social Policy from August 2005 to July 2011. He is currently Associate Director of the Children's Research Centre at TCD. He is also a Research Fellow (2013 - 2016) at SFI - The Danish National Centre for Social Research and Extraordinary Professor at the Optentia Research Programme at North Western University, South Africa. Other Career Highlights: * Visiting Professor: Dept. of Social Work, Charles University, Prague, October 2011; Department of Social Work, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, May 2012 * Visiting Scholar: School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, October 2012 * Elected Member of Board (Governing Authority) of Trinity College Dublin (2010 - 14) * Co-founder of Trinity Immigration Initiative (2006) * Co-Director (with Dr Philip Curry) of Children,Migration and Diversity Research Programme (formerly Children, Youth and Community Relations Research Programme)(2006) * Elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, 2004. * Co-Founder (with Dr Virpi Timonen) of Social Policy and Ageing Research Programme, TCD , 2004. * First Holder of Chair of Social Work and Social Policy at TCD, 2001. * Co-founder (with Dr Sheila Greene, Dept of Psychology) of Children's Research Centre,TCD, 1995. * Founder of multi-disciplinary post - graduate diploma in child protection and welfare, 1990, and subsequent companion MSc in Child Protection and Welfare,1995, TCD. * PhD Supervision. Four supervised to successful completion. Seven currently under supervision. Details below. * MLitt Supervision. Four supervised to successful completion (intended award). Details below * Has served as external examiner at many institutions including Anglia Ruskin University (PhD), Cardiff University (PhD), La Trobe University, Victoria (PhD), Queen's University, Belfast (PhD; Certificate in Child Protection Studies), RMIT University, Melbourne (PhD), Southern Cross University, New South Wales (PhD), University College Cork (PhD), University of Adelaide (PhD), University of Bedfordshire (PhD), University of Bristol (EdD), University of Cardiff (PhD), University of Dundee (Certificate in Child Protection Studies), University of East Anglia, (PhD, and MA in International Child Welfare), University of Glasgow (PhD), University of Groningen (Cum Laude assessment for PhD), University of Guelph, Ontario (PhD), University of Melbourne (PhD), University of Oviedo (PhD), University of Queensland (PhD), University of Sheffield (PhD), University of Stirling (PhD; EdD), University of Ulster (MA [Advanced Social Work],and PhD), University of Warwick (PhD) * Former youth worker, social worker and foster carer. * Has been a board member of, and consultant to, various social service organisations.
Details Date
President of Childwatch International Research Network, 2010-2013 2010-2013
Member of the International Advisory Board, Leuven Centre for Irish Studies, K.U. Leuven, 2011-14
Vice President of Childwatch International Research Network 2005-10
Member of the International Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood for Young People Leaving Public Care 2005 -
Board Member of the European Scientific Association of Residential and Family Care 2004 -
More Representations>>>
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Extraordinary Professor, Optentia Research Programme, North West University, South Africa 2014 - 2017
Research Fellow SFI - The Danish National Centre for Social Research 2013-2016
Elected Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin 2004
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Medium Medium
German Basic Basic Basic
Irish Medium Medium Medium
Description of Research Interests
Research interests revolve around children and young people: - Children and young people in challenging circumstances / with challenged status (public care, migration, ethnic diversity, disability, refugees etc) - Sources of resilience and support - Experiences of key transitions and turning points - Children and youth policy issues in international development
Research Interests
Child Welfare Child welfare, family support,children in care Children/Youth FOSTER CARE
Foster Care Immigration Inner-City International children's research
Irish child welfare policy MIGRATION Minorities and Disadvantaged NEEDS
PERMANENCY Refugee/Immigrant Services SUPPORT Social Services Delivery
Social Work children in state care family support programmes to combat social exclusion among young people
Research Projects
Project title Youth and Poverty - International Development Perspectives
Summary This project explores different aspects of the realities of poverty as experienced by young people in a number of developing country settings. It has a particular focus on the experiences of marginalised or vulnerable groups, and especially how these young people negotiate their way through various challenges in their lives. Two PhD studies form part of the project: a study of the educational journeys of rural teenage girls in Ethiopia (Louise Yorke); and a study of young unaccompanied Burmese 'refugees' in North west Thailand (Derina Johnson). Initial planning is under way for an additional project relating to rural youth in South Africa. Overall, the project seeks to generate insights about the capacity of young people in challenging circumstances, and the nature of relevant forms of support.
Funding Agency Miscellaneous: Irish Research Council, Oak Foundation, Trinity College Dublin
Type of Project
Date from June 2012
Date to
Person Months

Project title Experiences of Young Adults Leaving State Care
Summary This project currently has two components: a study of work experiences of young adults who have grown up in care (Arnau and Gilligan); and a study of care leavers in an Irish community (McMahon and Gilligan)
Funding Agency
Type of Project
Date from January 2013
Date to
Person Months

Project title Resilience and Children in State Care
Summary Ongoing conceptual study that commenced in 1996. Using relevant case material, it seeks to explore the relevance of research evidence on resilience in relation to children and young people in public care for policy, and for practice by carers, social workers and others . Product to date includes a book, multiple chapters, journal articles and conference papers.
Funding Agency
Type of Project
Date from 1996
Date to ongoing
Person Months

Project title Children in Long Term Foster Care
Summary Longitudinal study of a national cohort of young people in long term foster care (n=205). First stage completed and report published; second stage report in preparation. Research team comprises Fiona Daly and Robbie Gilligan (P.I.)
Funding Agency National Children's Office / Office of Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
Type of Project
Date from 2001
Date to ongoing
Person Months

Project title Learning Together
Summary Prospective case study approach to school based research on relations between immigrant and 'local' children and young people in north inner city of Dublin. This project is part of the Children, Youth and Community Relations Research Programme
Funding Agency Trinity Immigration Initiative
Type of Project
Date from 1-10-07
Date to 30-9-10
Person Months

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Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Children, social networks and social support in, editor(s)Hill, M., Head, G., Lockyer, A., Reid, B. and Taylor, R. , Children’s Services: Working Together, Harlow, Pearson, 2012, pp116 - 126, [Gilligan, R.]
Curry, P., Gilligan, R., Garratt, L., Scholtz, J., Where to From Here? Inter-ethnic Relations among Children in Ireland, Dublin, Liffey Press, 2011, xv + 208-
Robbie Gilligan, Tony Gregory, Dublin, O'Brien Press, 2011, 240pp
Notes: [Podcast of radio interview about book:]
Williams, David and Gilligan, Robbie, Self Injury and the Challenges of Responding to Young People in Care:The Experiences of a Sample of Social Care Workers , Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 11, (1), 2011
Selected Outcomes for Young People Aged 17-19 Years in Long Term Foster Care in Ireland in, editor(s)Elizabeth Fernandez and Richard P. Barth , How Does Foster Care Work? International Evidence on Outcomes, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010, pp243 - 259, [Fiona Daly and Robbie Gilligan]
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

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Last Updated:02-OCT-2014