Newly promoted ISSR Professor to explore the social science of sleep

26 Feb 2020

Congratulations to Professor Simon Smith who has recently been promoted to Professor, and for receiving a UQ Partners in Research Excellence Award (PIREA) commendation for his work promoting sleep health in Australian children. PIREAs recognise outstanding models of high-impact collaborative research partnerships, and this is a testament to Simon in achieving excellent outcomes that contributes to national research impact.

Professor Simon Smith

Promotion to Professor at UQ is an extremely rigorous process, with successful candidates needing to demonstrate exceptional leadership and levels of academic achievement across research, teaching and learning, and service. Simon’s promotion recognises the role he has played in building the social science of sleep at UQ and internationally, and his research focus on clinical care, basic science and translation to broader community, which is reflected in his publication profile and track record of research funding across all funding categories.

Simon joined ISSR in mid-2017 as a sleep science leader within the Child Development Education and Care Group, with an aim to bridge the biological and social sciences in collaboration with other researchers and partners from government, industry, and the community. Since joining ISSR he has led a range of research and evaluation activities including the Evaluation of the national support for child and youth mental health program and longitudinal research plan for the Commonwealth Department of Health, and the NHMRC-funded trial to Reducing Crash Risk for Young Drivers. His research laboratory supports advanced sleep measurements including actigraphy, polysomnography, behavioural assessment, psychometric assessments, hormone measures, naturalistic and simulated driving, and environmental monitoring.

Commencing in 2020, Simon will also be a chief investigator on both the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, demonstrating the critical role for sleep health in the broader social and community context, and establishing a new social science of sleep.  

“The social science of sleep is a new frontier. Our unique approach at UQ promises to benefit many individuals, families, and other groups in the community.” - Professor Simon Smith

As Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, Simon will lead a project focused on the social determinants of sleep to develop new understanding of how vulnerable families can be supported to improve household rhythms ensuring better health outcomes, lower stress levels and stronger work-family balance. This project will give new insights into the social determinants of sleep and has exceptional potential to inform interventions that can be applied to reduce compound disadvantage effects of poor sleep (i.e. work schedules, light exposure, technology use and family timetabling).

Simon will co-lead the Healthy Child research program under the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child to build new understandings about the digital influences on children’s health and wellbeing and improve outcomes for children. His expertise will contribute to the Centre’s studies of young children’s sleep, understanding of screen use, and interactions with activity and stress and in broader human-technology interactions and emotional and social regulation.

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