Mother and Infant Research Unit

We deliver world-leading research to improve the health and wellbeing of women, babies, children and their families, and to reduce health inequalities

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The Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU) is a multidisciplinary research group established in the School of Health Sciences, University of Dundee in 2013. It builds on over 15 years of previous work in the Universities of Leeds and York.

Our vision is to deliver world-leading, impactful research to improve the health and wellbeing of women, babies, children and their families, and to reduce health inequalities.

We work with individuals and groups who are often excluded from research, including families from disadvantaged and marginalised communities with complex social circumstances.

We partner with the local NHS, national and international health service providers and policymakers, and civil society organisations to ensure our research is relevant to communities, and maternal and child health policy and practice.

We are world-leaders in generating evidence to strengthen the quality of midwifery care and to promote, protect and support breastfeeding globally.

a newborn baby laying on their mother

Strategic objectives

  • Generate and drive the use of high quality, robust evidence in national and international policy and practice 
  • Create a vibrant, diverse and innovative research group, which attracts and develops people’s research capacity and capability through education, training and development opportunities.
  • Actively involve communities in informing and developing our research priorities and methods to create and mobilise evidence, knowledge and learning.
  • Prioritise research which is relevant to the current and future needs of national and international communities.

Our research

We are a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in midwifery, maternal, child and family health, public health, psychology and sociology. Our methodological expertise encompasses all forms of evidence synthesis, qualitative approaches, participatory research and stakeholder engagement, secondary data analysis, multi-method research, and intervention development and implementation. Our research is funded by CSO, ESRC, MRC, NIHR, Public Health Scotland, WHO

Our work focuses on three key areas:

Health education, promotion and protection led by Dr Anna Gavine

  • Effective interventions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding
  • Inequities in breastfeeding
  • Preconception care

Organisation and quality of maternity care led by Dr Andrew Symon

  • Development and implementation of the Lancet Series on Midwifery Framework for Quality Maternal and Newborn Care
  • Strengthening midwifery education, policy and practice globally
  • Implementation of professional midwifery in India

Marginalised and underserved communities led by Prof Alison McFadden

  • Community engagement and trust with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
  • Maternal and child outcomes of women who use opioids during pregnancy
  • Experiences of pregnant women who have had an infant removed from their care
a mother holding her baby

Academic Lead

Core academic staff

Research staff

Associated staff