Dr Robert Hughes

Clinical Research Fellow

United Kingdom

My aim is to improve child health, development & wellbeing, through conducting and disseminating rigirous research into how changing urban environments affect children & young people.

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.

My aim is to combine my academic work at LSHTM with previous clinical experience & that working in central government/philanthropy to answer highly policy relevant questions to contribute to real-world impact.


Department of Population Health
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


- Module co-organiser for a large core Epidemiology module (Epi in Practice) with 60-70 students per year
- Increasing role in program administration, including the revision of intended learning outcomes, liaison with teaching committees, and related module organisers as required. This includes planning sessions, liaising with lecturers, designing/developing assessments, leading on re-sit assessment development (including model answer and liaison with the external examiner), marking, and harmonisation.
- Delivered or co-delivered seven of the timetabled sessions, which involved research-informed lecturing, convening/chairing panel discussions, and developing preliminary reading and session outlines.

I have also delivered research-informed teaching sessions for other modules, covering a range of areas (Environment, Health and Sustainable Development, Environmental Health Policy, LSHTM Global Health Lecture Series). Furthermore, I have provided guest lectures at various institutions, including at UCL on the impacts of covid-19 on child development, (drawing on my research in Kenya), and at Oxford and for the DTM&H on early childhood development science and intervention evidence.

I enjoy teaching and find the interaction with LSHTMs smart, motivated students a highlight of my work.


My specific areas of focus are:
(1) the impact of care settings & childcare provision on urban early childhood development in LMICs, including interventions to improve this; &
(2) understanding the impacts of climate change - & associated changes - on child health & wellbeing.

In addition, I have also adapted my recent research to understand the impacts of Covid on child health/wellbeing, using mixed quantitative & qualitative methods, & am also exploring how frontier digital technologies may enable new research methods or interventions.
Research Area
Child health
Global Health
Climate change
Social Policy
South Africa
United Kingdom
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)
European Union

Selected Publications

A healthy future for children and adolescents.
HUGHES, RC; Antonio, M; Osborne, R; MAYHEW, SH; HAINES, A;
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; Mwaniki, E; Mutisya, M; Haycraft, E; HUGHES, R; Griffiths, P; Elsey, H;
Frontiers in Public Health
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; Sudre, CH; Pujol, JC; Polidori, L; May, A; Hammers, PA; Wolf, J; Spector, PT D; Steves, CJ; Ourselin, PS; Absoud, M; Modat, M; Duncan, PE L;
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, LD S; Bhopal, SS; HUGHES, RC; Chen, L; Deng, J; Murray, B; Kerfoot, E; Antonelli, M; Graham, M; Kläser, K; May, A; Hu, C; Pujol, JC; Wolf, J; Hammers, A; Spector, TD; Ourselin, S; Modat, M; Steves, CJ; Absoud, M; Duncan, EL;
Is the UK's covid inquiry at risk of forgetting about children and young people?
HUGHES, RC; Absoud, M; Bhopal, SS;
British Medical Journal
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
Long COVID in children - Authors' reply.
Molteni, E; Bhopal, SS; HUGHES, RC; Absoud, M; Duncan, EL; Authors,;
The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
Making pre-school children wear masks is bad public health.
HUGHES, RC; Bhopal, SS; Tomlinson, M;
Public Health in Practice
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; Deng, J; Hu, C; Selvachandran, S; Read, K; Capdevila Pujol, J; Hammers, A; Spector, TD; Ourselin, S; Steves, CJ; Modat, M; Absoud, M; Duncan, EL;
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
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
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