THRIVE Research Centre

The THRIVE Research Centre researches and evaluates the interaction between factors and mechanisms that influence human survival, flourishing, and transformation in the early years (first 1000 days) of life.

Our unique contribution is our focus on positive outcomes across the life course, to discover what events in the early years are associated with human flourishing in later life. We focus on maximising wellbeing and human flourishing; follow up over time and across generations; observation and analysis methods; multi-discipline approaches and the integration of data.

Optimal maternal, infant, and child health is critical to longer term health and wellbeing for individuals, communities, and societies. It is increasingly evident that biological, psychological, emotional, interpersonal, nutritional and social milestones from conception onwards can influence the potential of individuals in the longer term and can even have an effect on several generations of a family. The time period from conception to an individual’s second birthday (‘first 1000’ days) is a crucial period of life that lays the foundations for optimal growth and development across a person’s lifespan.

Our focus

We aim to describe and analyse the interaction between factors and mechanisms that influence human survival, flourishing, and transformation in the early years (first 1000 days) of life, and to implement and evaluate resulting solutions. This is done through a programme of research, innovation, and knowledge transfer that is focused on salutogenic factors, in the context of complex systems theory. Our unique contribution is our focus on positive outcomes across the life course, to answer the question, ‘what events in the early years are associated with human flourishing in later life?’

Our research has the following key elements:

  • Maximizing wellbeing and human flourishing
  • Follow up over time, and across generations
  • Methods that include observation and analysis of complex adaptive interactions between factors, systems, and mechanisms
  • Multi- and trans-disciplinary approaches
  • Integration of data at the micro (lab science), meso (application to people, families, society) and macro (policy) levels
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Academic expertise

sdowne
Professor Soo Downe
Professor of Midwifery Studies
School of Nursing and Midwifery

Soo is a midwife with a particular research focus on the nature of, and cultures around, normal birth. Soo has undertaken research using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods, from phenomenology and ethnography to surveys, RCTs, and epidemiological analysis of lar…

gthomson
Professor Gill Thomson
Professor in Perinatal Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery

Gill Thomson is a Professor in Perinatal Health within the Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit (MAINN) in the University of Central Lancashire. Gill has a psychology academic background and a PhD in midwifery. Gill has been led/been involved in a number of research/eva…

News and events

  • World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery. Centre theme lead, Dr Karen Whittaker, has been selected following a competitive process, to join the team of technical advisors to the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery at Public Health England’s Chief Nurse Directorate.

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Contact us

To find out more please contact Centre Co-Directors Professor Soo Downe or Dr Rebecca Nowland.