Professor Jennifer Davidson


Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures

Personal statement

Professor Jennifer Davidson is the Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, and its Inspiring Children's Futures Doctoral Research Centre.

Inspiring Children's Futures is an international research, policy and practice implementation group with a collective vision of ensuring that children and young people have what they need to reach their full potential, particularly those who experience adversity. 

Jennifer’s interests lie in the relationship between children’s rights and their lived experiences, and in the impact and value of international rights and standards to national and regional practice in public services. The mechanisms to promote meaningful and sustainable impact, from policy into children’s day-to-day lives, are at the heart of her work.

More specificallly, Jennifer works to embed children’s human rights into the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example as Project Director of the access-to-justice project: Justice for Children, Justice for All Global Initiative on behalf of the United Nations-sponsored Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. Jennifer’s leadership of international child rights projects has also driven change for children over many years through the implementation of the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care of Childrenfor example as Project Director for the Moving Forward: Implementing the UN Guidelines handbook and in her recent partnership to establish the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights in Scotland.

During COVID, working in partnership with a wide range of international partners, Jennifer initiated and leads the international 'COVID 4P Log for Children's Wellbeing' Smartphone App project, to shape policy and practice through a better understanding of practitioners' and policy-makers' experiences and views of children’s rights and wellbeing under COVID, drawn from respondents across 22 countries and 5 continents. 

Jennifer's international experience is drawn from her work in several countries, where has held leadership positions in child and youth care, social work and professional education. Jennifer has served on national and international committees related to children’s rights and public services.

Jennifer is the Founding Director of the leading improvement and innovation centre, the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection at the University of Strathclyde. While at the University, Jennifer has secured and led the delivery of over £75M in grant funding.

Jennifer was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Honours for services to the care and protection of children in Scotland and abroad.


Has expertise in:

    • International children's rights
    • Alternative care systems and international care reform 
    • Child welfare, child protection and child and youth care
    • Government policy-making
    • Public services leadership
    • Workforce development 
    • Systems change

Prizes and awards

OBE in the Queen’s Honours

More prizes and awards


Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law
Graduate School of Law, Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, 2007-2009

Master of Social Work (with Honours)
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1994-1997

Bachelor of Social Work (with Distinction)
McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1987-1991


Practitioners' and policymakers' successes, challenges, innovations, and learning in promoting children's well-being during COVID-19 : protocol for a multinational smartphone app survey
Davidson Jennifer C, Karadzhov Dimitar, Wilson Graham
JMIR Research Protocols Vol 10 (2021)
Securing the Recovery, Ambition, and Resilience for the Well-being of Children in the Post-COVID Decade
Dirwan Gráinne, Thévenon Olivier, Davidson Jennifer, Goudie Andrew
The Fragility of Justice for Children during COVID-19 : Providers' and Policymakers' Perspectives on Implications and Mitigation Strategies : Findings from the International COVID 4P Log Project
Brown Aaron, Davidson Jennifer, Karadzhov Dimitar, Shields Sophie
Inspiring Children's Futures : Children's Participation: Adults' Perceptions of Child Participation and Young People's Views on Responses during Covid-19
Lee Laura, Wright Laura HV, Shields Sophie, Karadzhov Dimitar, Davidson Jennifer, Hope-Burchill Kristen, Singh Prathit, Machado Carolina, Niyogi Ojaswi
Inspiring Children's Futures Learning Report Series Inspiring Children's Futures Learning Report Series (2022)
'You cannot pour from an empty cup!' : child wellbeing service providers' and policymakers' professional supervision, coping and wellbeing during COVID-19
Karadzhov Dimitar, Davidson Jennifer, Wilson Graham
Journal of Public Mental Health (2021)
Partnerships with children as core to partnerships for the goal
Davidson Jennifer, Shields Sophie, Hope Kristen
Summer 2021 (2021)

More publications

Professional activities

Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children Summit Series
Invited speaker
Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Invited speaker
Inspiring Ways To End Violence Against Children: The Podcast
Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) National Youth Justice Conference 2021
Keynote/plenary speaker
OECD Virtual Roundtable on Accessible and People-Centred Justice
Scientific Committee Member, World Congress on Justice with Children (External organisation)

More professional activities


United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
Davidson, Jennifer (Principal Investigator)
Invited expert. Closed meeting on ‘The Role of the CRC in Achieving Justice for Children’ with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, at the 82nd Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Palais Wilson, Geneva. 13 Sep 2019.
13-Jan-2019 - 13-Jan-2019
Council of Europe, Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF)
Davidson, Jennifer (Academic)
18-Jan-2020 - 18-Jan-2020
NIHR Global Health Research Group on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing
Morse, Tracy (Principal Investigator) Beattie, Tara (Co-investigator) Davidson, Jennifer (Co-investigator) Henderson, Marion (Co-investigator) Morton, Alec (Co-investigator) Quinn, Neil (Co-investigator) Sosu, Edward (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2026
Partners in Change - Robertson Trust
Davidson, Jennifer (Principal Investigator) Congreve, Emma (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2024
Governance for child well-being
Davidson, Jennifer (Principal Investigator)
08-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Justice For Children, Justice for All - Phase 2
Davidson, Jennifer (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021

More projects


Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures
Ramshorn Building

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