Lisa Holmes, BSc, Ph.D.

Lisa joined the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex in January 2022 as Professor of Applied Social Science. Prior to this she was an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of Research in the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Lisa started her academic career in 2000, as a research assistant, based in the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University. Between 2013 and 2017 she was the Director of the research centre and led a large portfolio of research and evaluation projects focused on children’s social care.

Over the past twenty years Lisa has carried out a range of research and evaluation projects, with a particular focus on the relationship between needs, costs and outcomes of services and support provided to children and families. This has included the development of the Cost Calculator for Children’s Services. Lisa has also carried out responsive studies for various government departments, including the Department for Education and Ministry of Justice. These responsive studies were carried out to address specific policy issues. In 2005 Lisa was seconded into the English Government Department for Children, Schools and Families to disseminate research findings and produce a practice guide and resource pack to assist children’s services department with the strategic development and planning of services to best meet the needs of vulnerable children. Lisa has published a range of books, journal articles and project evaluation reports.

Along with her colleagues, Professor James Whittaker and Professor Jorge F del Valle, Lisa is co-chair of the International Work Group for Therapeutic Residential Care and is a board member of the European Scientific Association on Residential And Family Care For Children And Adolescents. In late 2017, along with colleagues at UCL and the University of Oxford, Lisa established the Children’s Social Care Data User Group ( The group provides a forum to share expertise and learning between all users and potential users (academic, practice and policy) of children’s social care data.

Lisa first started her career in children’s social care as an outreach worker in the early 1990s, followed by three years working as a residential social worker in a local authority children’s home in England.