Professor Karen Thorpe


Institute for Social Science Research
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Karen Thorpe is Group Leader, Early development, education and care at the Institute for Social Science Research. 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 parent work, quality of care and education and the Early years workforce. She 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, currently is leading a study of the Australian ECEC workforce (ARC Linkage:). In 2013 she 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.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Grants (Administered at UQ)