Our research

The Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) aims to promote emotional health from conception to young adulthood and into the next generation.

SEED recognises the seminal role that experiences in early emotional life have on social development, that every age and stage matters in building wellbeing, and that confidence in holding both positive and painful emotion is essential to felt security, exploration and personal growth across the life course.

Our governance model

SEED is governed by a team of experts who bring together life course, clinical and public health research and practice to describe the major milestones in emotional life, advise on the most effective approaches to intervening at the earliest opportunities in troubled pathways, and engage systems for translating this knowledge broadly.

Click the image below to enlarge (PDF, 1MB):

What we do

SEED Research is 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 themes:

  1. What Matters in shaping emotional and social developmental across the early life course?

  2. What Works to promote emotional security and connection in children and young people?

  3. What Translates into sustainable prevention, treatment and health promotion programs?

Hosting three major project groupings

Leading Australian Life course Studies

Leading examples include:

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 Triple B Study is based on a near-representative sample of around 1600 families and captures health and development in Trimester 1, 2 and 3, at birth, and at 8 weeks and 1 year postpartum.

The Australian Wellbeing Study is based on a near-representative sample of around 1000 Australians that have been followed for over a decade  using the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index.

Men and Parenting Pathways (MAPP)  is a 5-year longitudinal examination of the mental health, wellbeing and experiences of 600 men entering the peak age for first-time fatherhood (33 years).

Community and Clinical Interventions

Leading examples include:


This project translates SEED developmental science into supporting children and young people living with a Neurodevelopmental Disorder, such as Autism. This program focuses on inclusive engagement of children with disabilities in sport by creating an evidenced-based resource (website/mobile app) for football coaches, parents and children to use to enhance the opportunity for children with disabilities to participate in the Australian Football League’s (AFL) Auskick program.

Communities That Care (CTC)

This project translates SEED developmental science into a community based framework that supports local responses to risk and protective factors relevant to child and youth social and emotional development. CTC is a leading example of community lead translation based on evidence based indicators of risk and protection that are aligned with evidence based programs for addressing community profiles.

Specialist Research Centres

The Deakin Child Study Centre is a specialist research centre with a focus on understanding developmental in children with autism and related disorders.

Centre for Drug Alcohol and Addition Research, advocating for change in Alcohol Practice and Policy related to regulation of alcohol supply, advertising and promotion, with a focus on the adolescent to young adult period.

The Australian Centre on Quality of Life was established by Emeritus Professor Robert Cummins to advance scientific understanding of human life quality. The Centre conducts world-class research on subjective wellbeing and its seminal role in emotional health, social and economic equality, and environmental protection.

The Melbourne Attachment and Caregiving (MAC) Consortium was established by Professor Jenn McIntosh to ensure high fidelity translation of attachment theory and practice. The MAC Consortium has strong community based, clinical and educational programs, and offers the only accredited training in coding of attachment and caregiving behaviour for the Strange Situation Procedure in Australia.

The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes works to raise awareness and influencing practice and policy around living with diabetes.


SEED is committed to conducting high quality research across the continuum of care; Prevention: universal, selective, indicated; Intervention/Treatment: Case identification, treatment for known disorders and Continuing care/Maintenance: Compliance with long-term treatment to reduce relapse and recurrence, after care (including rehabilitation).

Click the image below to enlarge (PDF, 236KB):

Conceptual Framework

SEED research streams work closely with SEED research themes to define developmentally appropriate indicators of emotional security at each age and stage (What Matters), to advise of developmentally appropriate interventions for promoting emotional security (What Works) , and to inform developmentally integrated intervention delivery systems based on indicators and interventions (What Matters).

Click the image below to enlarge (PDF, 291KB):


SEED holds a vision for comprehensive monitoring and intervention from infancy to adulthood. SEED Life course Sciences hosts some of Australia’s oldest longitudinal studies and is using these data to define key indicators of emotional growth at each age and stage.

SEED Intervention Sciences is compiling an evidence based list of interventions that address key emotional growth indicators at each age and stage. SEED Translation Sciences is working to implement indicators and intervention within education and health service systems.

Click the image below to enlarge (PDF, 150KB):