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Professor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research, Susan Golombok

Professor Susan GolombokProfessor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research, Susan Golombok 

Susan Golombok is Professor of Family Research and Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, and Professorial Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. Susan took her first degree in Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, a Master’s’ degree in Child Development at the Institute of Education, University of London, and a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. Following 10 years at the Institute of Psychiatry, she moved to City University, London, where she founded the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre. She moved to Cambridge in 2006.

Susan has pioneered research on the psychological development and wellbeing of children in new family forms and remains at the forefront of this field internationally. She conducted the first studies of lesbian mother families, gay father families, single mothers by choice and families created by assisted reproductive technologies including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), donor insemination, egg donation and surrogacy. Her research has not only challenged commonly held assumptions about the social and psychological consequences for children of being raised in new family forms but also has advanced theoretical understanding of parental influences on child development more generally by showing that the quality of family relationships and the social context of the family are more influential in children’s psychological development that are the number, gender, sexual orientation or biological relatedness of their parents.

In addition to more than 300 academic papers, Susan is the author of Parenting: What really counts? (Routledge, 2000) and co-author of Bottling it Up (Faber & Faber, 1985), Gender Development (Cambridge University Press, 1994), Modern Psychometrics (Routledge, 1989) and Growing up in a Lesbian Family (Guilford Press, 1997). Her latest book is Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press. Modern Families won the British Psychological Society 2016 Book Prize and an Honourable Mention in the US PROSE Awards 2016.

Susan has been awarded major research grants from the Wellcome Trust, the US National Institutes of Health, the European Union and the UK Economic and Social Research Council, most recently a £1.5 million Collaborative Award from the Wellcome Trust in 2017. Susan is often approached by policy-makers and legislators around the world. In recent years, she has given evidence to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs, the Dutch State Commission on Family Law, the Swedish Government Inquiry on Surrogate Motherhood, the Colombian Government, the German Ethics Council, the Department of Child Protection in Switzerland, the UK Law Commission and the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law. She was a member of the UK government’s surrogacy review committee in the late 1990s and a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Donor Conception in 2012-13. Her research has been used as evidence in same-sex marriage legislation in a number of countries, including the US Supreme Court ruling in 2015, and in legislation on assisted reproduction such as the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 that allowed same-sex parents to be joint legal parents of children born through assisted reproduction.

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