Our research

The Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) conducts world-leading research on social development and its origins in early emotional life. The objective of SEED is to promote a secure start to social and emotional life across the life course, from pregnancy through to adulthood and into the next generation.


Organised into three Research Streams:

  1. First 2000 days: Intergenerational-Early Childhood (0-5 years)
  2. First 5000 days: Childhood to Adolescence Stream (0-13 years)
  3. First 10,000 days: Adolescence to Young Adulthood Stream (0-27 years)

Guided by three Research Questions:

  1. What Matters in shaping emotional and social developmental across the early life course?
  2. What Works to promote emotional security and social connection in children and young people?
  3.  What Translates into sustainable prevention, treatment and health promotion programs?

Supported by three Research Enablers

SEED EpiBiostats

The EpiBiostats Unit provides input into all key phases of research projects from conceptualisation through to dissemination.

We support our students and staff in the areas of cohort studies, clinical trials and systematic and meta-analytic reviews via contemporary and extensive online resources.

We also offer enrichment services through regular workshops scheduled throughout the year and offer consultation with specialists

SEED Online

We use electronic multimedia, the internet and information and communication technologies for best practice psychological research and service delivery.

We utilise ICT to improve intervention efficacy via increased engagement, tailored interventions and increased patient self-management regardless of geographic, social or economic factors.

Research excellence

Consistent with Deakin's commitment to research excellence, SEED's core mantra is dedicated to conducting high-quality research. We achieve this by:

  • asking important questions
  • having a clear governance structure
  • drawing on cutting-edge methodologies
  • collaborating authentically with international experts, industry and consumers.

We also report our work to a wide range of audiences via a number of mediums including media, training, conferences, consumer groups, high-impact publications and practice journals.

 This is an illustration of how the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development works as a whole. The very top of the illustration presents a semi-circular image representing the Mrazek and Haggerty Continuum of Care Model which is divided into three main sections. The first section describes research and intervention work that happens prior to the diagnosis of a mental or behavioural disorder. This is referred to as prevention. The second section describes research and intervention work that happens on diagnosis or just after. This is referred to as treatment. The third and final section describes research an intervention that support those for whom treatment or remission is unlikely. This is referred to as continuing care. SEED conducts work across all three components of this Continuum of Care Model. The next section of the illustration shows our commitment to conducting research from infancy through to young adulthood. It show this period divided into three Research Streams. The first is our Intergenerational-Early Childhood Stream, spanning the first 2000 days of life from conception to age 5. The second to the right is our Childhood-to-Adolescence Stream, spanning the first 5,000 days of life through to age 13 years. The third to the far right is our Adolescence-to-Young Adulthood Stream, spanning the first 10,000 days of life through to 27 years, which is then to beginning of the period of first births and takes us back to our first stream. Our commitment to intergenerational processes is illustrated on the diagram with a circulate loop. The next section down shows that each of our three streams are oganised by three cross-cutting research themes. The first Research Theme reads “What Matters? Lifecourse and Surveillance Research Theme”. The purpose of the work conducted in this theme is to “define developmentally appropriate indicators of social-emotional security” which are converted into indicators sets, one for each age/stage of development. The second Research Theme reads “What Works? Intervention Sciences Theme. The purpose of work conducted in this theme is to “Advise on developmentally targeted interventions promoting socio-emotional security” which are presented as Menus of Services, one for each age/stage of development. The third Research Theme reads “What Translates? Translation Sciences Theme. The purpose of work conducted in this theme is to “Informing developmentally integrated intervention delivery systems based on indicators and interventions” The illustration furthers shows that Indicators from the Life course and Surveillance Science Theme, and Menus of Services from the Intervention Sciences Theme are uploaded onto external websites respectively labelled: What Matters for Kids and What Works for Kids. The illustration indicates that these two sites are being developed in collaboration with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. Finally, at the very bottom of the illustration, three research enablers are presented as the foundation of the Centre. The first reads “SEED EpiBiostats Supporting systematic reviews, clinical and epidemiological biostatistics”. The second reads “SEED Online Supporting digital communication of research concepts, findings and interventions” and the third reads “SEED Resesarch Excellence Promoting excellence in analysis, publication and dissemination”. Taken together, the three Research Streams (spanning infancy to young adulthood), the three Research themes (spanning What Matters, What Works and What Translates) and the three Research Enablers (EpiBiostats, Online and Research Excellences), make up the governance model of the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development

SEED is home to:

Major Flagship Projects, including three of Australia’s oldest running lifecourse studies “What Matters?”

  • The Australian Temperament Project is a unique three-generation study that has followed around 2000 young Australians (and their parents) from birth to adulthood across 30 years (15 waves) and is now following cohort offspring.
  • The International Youth Development Project is a long-term study of 6000 young people that compares the development of healthy and problem behaviours in the state of Victoria, Australia, and the state of Washington, United States.
  • The Australian Unity Wellbeing and Surveillance Studies, providing annual snapshots of the wellbeing of Australian for over two decades, and tracking a cohort of 2,000 Australian over the same period

Leading Community and Clinical Intervention Programs “What Works?”

  • Communities That Care encourages implementation of preventive and positive youth development interventions at the population level
  • The Deakin Child Study Centre is a clinical program with a focus on understanding developmental outcomes, particularly in children with neurodevelopment disorders

Translational Research Centres and Programs “What translates?”