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Innocenti Research Centre-International Child Development Centre

A research centre to support its advocacy for children worldwide and to identify and research current and future areas of UNICEF’s work
Innocenti Research Centre-International Child Development Centre
Leadership team

Bo Viktor Nylund (Director)

Headquarters
Italy
Year stablished
1988
Social Media
Summary

The Innocenti Research Centre, now known as the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, is an international child-focused research center. It is part of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and is based in Florence, Italy.

The center, originally established in 1988 as the International Child Development Centre, aims to improve the well-being of children worldwide through research and evidence-based policy advocacy. It conducts and promotes research on various aspects of child development, including health, education, social protection, and child rights.

The Innocenti Research Centre collaborates with a global network of researchers and partners to generate knowledge, insights, and evidence to inform policies and programs for children. It conducts both quantitative and qualitative research, using diverse methodologies to explore the challenges faced by children in different contexts.

The center's research findings are used to influence policy and practice at national, regional, and international levels, with the ultimate goal of promoting child rights and improving the lives of children. It actively engages with policymakers, practitioners, and advocates to ensure that research results are translated into action and that child-centered policies are effectively implemented.

Through its research and advocacy efforts, the Innocenti Research Centre plays a crucial role in advancing the global agenda for children's rights, contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to children's well-being and development.


History

The history of the Innocenti Research Centre, now known as the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, spans several decades and is closely intertwined with the evolution of child-focused research and advocacy within the United Nations system.

The center was established in 1988 as the International Child Development Centre (ICDC) by UNICEF in Florence, Italy. Its creation was a response to the growing recognition of the need for evidence-based research to inform policies and programs that promote the well-being of children worldwide.

The ICDC aimed to serve as a global hub for research on child development, bringing together experts, practitioners, and policymakers to generate knowledge and shape the global agenda for children's rights. It focused on a wide range of issues, including health, education, child protection, social policy, and child rights.

Throughout its early years, the ICDC conducted pioneering research on child development and well-being, often in collaboration with leading institutions and researchers from around the world. It played a key role in advancing the understanding of child-centered approaches and advocating for child rights in various contexts.

In 2002, the ICDC underwent a transformation and was renamed the Innocenti Research Centre, reflecting its continued commitment to research excellence and its focus on generating evidence for policy and programming. This change aligned with UNICEF's broader emphasis on evidence-based decision-making and its evolving priorities in the field of child rights and well-being.

Since then, the Innocenti Research Centre has continued to expand its research agenda, addressing emerging issues and challenges facing children and young people. It has worked on topics such as child poverty, social inequality, violence against children, migration, early childhood development, and adolescent well-being.

The center's research outputs have included influential publications, reports, and data sets that have contributed to the global knowledge base on child development. Its research findings have informed policies and interventions at local, national, and international levels, promoting child rights and influencing the design and implementation of programs that benefit children.

In recent years, the center has further strengthened its collaborations with academic institutions, research organizations, and civil society partners. It has embraced multidisciplinary approaches and innovative methodologies to address complex issues and generate actionable insights for policymakers and practitioners.

Today, as the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, the center continues to play a vital role in advancing the global child rights agenda. It remains committed to generating high-quality research, facilitating knowledge exchange, and advocating for evidence-based policies that promote the well-being and rights of children everywhere.


Goals and Purpose

The UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti has the following goals:

Generate Knowledge: The center aims to generate high-quality research and evidence on various aspects of child development, including health, education, social protection, and child rights. It strives to contribute to the global knowledge base and fill gaps in understanding, particularly in areas that directly impact children's well-being.

Inform Policies and Programs: Innocenti Research Centre seeks to translate research findings into actionable insights that inform policies and programs for children. By providing evidence-based recommendations, it aims to influence decision-makers at national, regional, and international levels and contribute to the development of child-centered policies and interventions.

Advocate for Child Rights: The center actively advocates for the rights of children and promotes the incorporation of child rights perspectives in policies and practices. It works to raise awareness, influence public opinion, and mobilize support for children's rights, emphasizing the importance of protecting and promoting their well-being in all contexts.

Foster Partnerships and Collaboration: Innocenti Research Centre recognizes the importance of partnerships and collaboration in achieving its goals. It seeks to foster collaboration with researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and civil society organizations to enhance the quality and relevance of research, facilitate knowledge exchange, and create a platform for joint action to improve children's lives.

Strengthen Data and Evidence Systems: The center aims to strengthen data and evidence systems related to child well-being. It advocates for robust data collection, analysis, and dissemination practices to ensure that policymakers and practitioners have access to accurate and timely information for evidence-based decision-making.

Proposal:

In order to further advance the goals of the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, the following proposals are put forward:

Promote Research Capacity Building: Foster initiatives to build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in regions where data and evidence gaps are more pronounced. This can be achieved through training programs, knowledge sharing platforms, and mentorship opportunities to empower local researchers and institutions.

Enhance Research-Practice Linkages: Strengthen the connection between research and practice by facilitating effective knowledge translation processes. Develop strategies to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers, ensuring that research findings are accessible, understandable, and actionable for those responsible for shaping child-focused policies and programs.

Expand Focus on Emerging Issues: Continually adapt and expand the research agenda to address emerging issues affecting children and young people, such as the impact of digital technologies, climate change, and migration. Foster multidisciplinary approaches and collaborations to tackle complex challenges and generate comprehensive insights.

Engage with Communities and Children: Foster meaningful engagement with children, families, and communities in the research process. Incorporate their perspectives and experiences into research design, implementation, and dissemination to


Impact

The UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti has had a significant impact in promoting child rights and improving the well-being of children worldwide. Its research and evidence-based advocacy have influenced policies and programs, leading to tangible changes in the lives of children.

Through its rigorous research, the center has generated knowledge and evidence on key issues affecting children, including health, education, social protection, and child rights. This research has informed policy decisions, enabling governments and organizations to design and implement effective interventions that address the specific needs of children.

The center's advocacy efforts have contributed to raising awareness about child rights and promoting their inclusion in policy agendas. By actively engaging with policymakers, practitioners, and the public, Innocenti Research Centre has helped foster a global commitment to protecting and promoting the well-being of children.

The center's work has also strengthened data and evidence systems related to child well-being. By advocating for improved data collection and analysis practices, it has enhanced the availability and quality of data on children, enabling evidence-based decision-making at various levels.


References
Innocenti Research Centre-International Child Development Centre
Leadership team

Bo Viktor Nylund (Director)

Headquarters
Italy
Year stablished
1988
Social Media