Dr Robert Hughes


Research Fellow

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

After initially training and practicing in clinical medicine (at Bristol University, and also including a BSc in Global Health from UCL), I completed my Masters in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health as a Kennedy Scholar. From there, I joined the UK Department for International Development (DFID - now the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) as a Health/Nutrition Adviser, in a series of roles working in Pakistan, Yemen, Whitehall and then leading the UKaid human development programme in Zambia.


I subsequently joined the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in London as a Senior Fellow to lead development of their Early Childhood Development strategy and programming and supporting work to build linkages between global health and climate portfolios. In addition to my role at LSHTM I work/have worked as a consultant to the Clean Air Fund (a philanthropic initiative with a mission to tackle air pollution around the world), Google X, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, WHO, and DFID.


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Population Health


Centre for Evaluation
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)
Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health


I co-lead the Epidemiology in Practice Module at LSHTM, and also contribute to teaching on several other modules at LSHTM, Oxford University and UCL.


My research interests are orientated around the various ways in which urbanisation, climate change and accelerating technological change are transforming child health and development, primarily in low- and middle-income countries, and implications of these for intervention development and delivery.

I am currently the Field Research Director for the Nairobi Early Childcare in Slums (NECS) Study (, a mixed-methods exploration of childcare in informal settlements in Nairobi, funded by the British Academy and a linked fellowship from Echidna Giving. In addition, I am leading a Covid Impacts Tracker sub-study exploring how COVID-19 is impacting on the care of young children in informal settlements in Nairobi, supported by Echidna Giving.

I am also leading the Cities, Climate and Children and young people Project ( which is focused on rapid research ‘sprints’ exploring the impacts of radical decarbonisation on child health in cities alongside children and young people’s experiences, perspectives and ideas for sustainable urban development.

Research Area
Child health
Climate change
Quality improvement
Research : policy relationship
Social and structural determinants of health
Environmental Health
Global Health
Implementation research
Qualitative methods
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Improving early childhood development in the context of the nurturing care framework in Kenya: A policy review and qualitative exploration of emerging issues with policy makers.
Abboah-Offei M; Amboka P; Nampijja M; Owino GE; Okelo K; Kitsao-Wekulo P; Chumo I; Muendo R; Oloo L; Wanjau M
Frontiers in Public Health
A healthy future for children and adolescents.
Hughes RC; Antonio M; Osborne R; Mayhew SH; Haines A
Post-vaccination infection rates and modification of COVID-19 symptoms in vaccinated UK school-aged children and adolescents: A prospective longitudinal cohort study.
Molteni E; Canas LS; Kläser K; Deng J; Bhopal SS; Hughes RC; Chen L; Murray B; Kerfoot E; Antonelli M
The Lancet Regional Health Europe
Illness Characteristics of COVID-19 in Children Infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant.
Molteni E; Sudre CH; Canas LDS; Bhopal SS; Hughes RC; Chen L; Deng J; Murray B; Kerfoot E; Antonelli M
Hacking childhood: will future technologies undermine, or enable, optimal early childhood development?
Hughes RC; Bhopal SS; Manu AA; Generative Pre-trained transformer; Van Heerden AC
Archives of disease in childhood
Making pre-school children wear masks is bad public health.
Hughes RC; Bhopal SS; Tomlinson M
Public Health in Practice
Who actually cares for children in slums? Why we need to think, and do, more about paid childcare in urbanizing sub-Saharan Africa.
Hughes RC; Kitsao-Wekulo P; Muendo R; Bhopal SS; Kimani-Murage E; Hill Z; Kirkwood BR
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Long COVID in children - Authors' reply.
Molteni E; Bhopal SS; Hughes RC; Absoud M; Duncan EL; authors
The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
Illness duration and symptom profile in symptomatic UK school-aged children tested for SARS-CoV-2.
Molteni E; Sudre CH; Canas LS; Bhopal SS; Hughes RC; Antonelli M; Murray B; Kläser K; Kerfoot E; Chen L
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Nairobi Early Childcare in Slums (NECS) Study Protocol: a mixed-methods exploration of paid early childcare in Mukuru slum, Nairobi.
Hughes RC; Kitsao-Wekulo P; Bhopal S; Kimani-Murage EW; Hill Z; Kirkwood BR
BMJ paediatrics open
Human resources and curricula content for early child development implementation: multicountry mixed methods evaluation.
Kohli-Lynch M; Ponce Hardy V; Bernal Salazar R; Bhopal SS; Brentani A; Cavallera V; Goh E; Hamadani JD; Hughes R; Manji K
Emerging Opportunities Provided by Technology to Advance Research in Child Health Globally.
van Heerden A; Leppanen J; Rotheram-Borus MJ; Worthman CM; Kohrt BA; Skeen S; Giese S; Hughes R; Bohmer L; Tomlinson M
Global Pediatric Health
Accountability for funds for Nurturing Care: what can we measure?
Arregoces L; Hughes R; Milner KM; Ponce Hardy V; Tann C; Upadhyay A; Lawn JE
Archives of disease in childhood
Rating early child development outcome measurement tools for routine health programme use.
Boggs D; Milner KM; Chandna J; Black M; Cavallera V; Dua T; Fink G; Kc A; Grantham-McGregor S; Hamadani J
Archives of disease in childhood
Scaling early child development: what are the barriers and enablers?
Cavallera V; Tomlinson M; Radner J; Coetzee B; Daelmans B; Hughes R; Pérez-Escamilla R; Silver KL; Dua T
Contextual design choices and partnerships for scaling early child development programmes.
Milner KM; Bernal Salazar R; Bhopal S; Brentani A; Britto PR; Dua T; Gladstone M; Goh E; Hamadani J; Hughes R
Archives of disease in childhood
Counting outcomes, coverage and quality for early child development programmes.
Milner KM; Bhopal S; Black M; Dua T; Gladstone M; Hamadani J; Hughes R; Kohli-Lynch M; Manji K; Ponce Hardy V
Archives of disease in childhood
The evolution of global health teaching in undergraduate medical curricula.
Rowson M; Smith A; Hughes R; Johnson O; Maini A; Martin S; Martineau F; Miranda JJ; Pollit V; Wake R
Conceptualising global health: theoretical issues and their relevance for teaching.
Rowson M; Willott C; Hughes R; Maini A; Martin S; Miranda JJ; Pollit V; Smith A; Wake R; Yudkin JS
Medicine, Medsin, and global health.
Garman K; Hughes R
See more Publications