The Office is Research provides global leadership for UNICEF’s strategic research agenda around children. The Office and the Innocenti Research Centre are based in Florence, Italy. The Office aims to enhance worldwide collaboration that will strengthen the generation and use of knowledge in programmes of cooperation and policy advocacy, and support UNICEF’s work for the most vulnerable children and women in more than 190 countries around the world.
The Office is headed by Mr. Gordon Alexander, who was appointed Director in February 2011.
The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF’s research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. It is the research arm of UNICEF, and is part of the Office of Research.
The Innocenti Research Centre was established in Florence in 1988 at the Istituto degli Innocenti following an agreement between UNICEF and the Government of Italy. Since its inception, the Centre has been hosted in the historic building of the Spedale di Santa Maria degli Innocenti, the foundling hospital designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The setting is most appropriate for a UNICEF office since, in the 15th century, the hospital was founded as the first orphanage in the world and has been dedicated to the welfare of children since then.
IRC is staffed by a team of approximately 30 people, including international professional and local administrative staff. The Centre falls under the overall leadership of the UNICEF Office of Research, which is headed by the Director, Gordon Alexander. A team of senior officers provides day-to-day guidance of the work of IRC’s two research clusters (Socio-economic Policy and Child Protection). The research units include lawyers, economists, anthropologists and sociologists from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, offering multiple viewpoints and perspectives to the research undertaken, while promoting objectivity and informed analysis. Communications and Operations specialists provide strategic support to the research function.
Information about current vacancies, the United Nations Junior Professional Officer programme, and Internships both at UNICEF and IRC can be found on our Employment page. Employment
The Centre receives strong financial support from several governments, with the Government of Italy being its largest financial contributor, providing core funding for IRC’s technical capacity, management and operations. Financial support for specific projects is also provided by other governments, international institutions and private sources, including UNICEF National Committees.
The Centre carries out research in two main areas: socio-economic policy analysis and child protection and the implementation of international human rights standards.
Research on the impact of economic and social policies on children and families aims to promote policy reform in favour of vulnerable groups. One priority is the reduction of child poverty, the biggest obstacle to the realization of child rights, such as the right to an education, to good health and even to play.
IRC disseminates its research findings through a range of means, including publications, often produced in multiple languages; its state of the art website; through close contacts with the media, development networks, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, UNICEF offices and National Committees; and through attendance at and participation in key global and regional conferences, events and seminars. These activities all help ensure continued visibility to the Centre as an authoritative hub for child-related research.
IRC researchers usually carry out their own research, individually, or in conjunction with other academics, research institutes and UNICEF colleagues. However in some instances IRC may commission research from specialists outside UNICEF, or may collaborate with others to produce research that is published under the IRC imprint on conclusion. Quality assurance is provided by the Centre’s senior staff and through the Centre’s publishing process, and UNICEF retains copyright of the material.
Working or Discussion Papers written by suitably qualified persons may also be considered for publication. The Centre first conducts a technical review to determine interest, subject relevance and quality, and if approved, will retain the author/s byeline with UNICEF maintaining copyright of the material. In such instances, authors are encouraged to seek other avenues to publish the material, such as scholarly journals.
The Italian National Committee for UNICEF
is the official, independent non-governmental organization that represents UNICEF in Italy. The National Committee is based in Rome, and is one of 36 Committees in industrialized countries around the world that represent UNICEF. The Italian National Committee organizes national campaigns and local initiatives to raise funds on behalf of UNICEF and to secure visibility for children. The National Committee also collaborates with schools to promote courses of development education for children and young people and to disseminate information and documentation on UNICEF activities around the world. IRC cooperates with the Italian National Committee to strengthen mutual activities and initiatives, and to enhance the organization’s work in industrialized countries.
Most IRC publications can be downloaded free of charge from this website as PDF files. Printed copies of IRC publications, which are available for a nominal fee, can be ordered from UN Publications Sales. Details are given under each title available for ordering.
The IRC Communications team liaises with members of the media on an on-going basis. Ahead of release of major publications, key media counterparts are contacted and provided with information on the research conducted and the relevance of the findings for children. Membership of the IRC Newsroom provides journalists with access to pre-launch embargoed copies of downloadable reports, press releases and other materials such as videos, news releases, photos and graphics.
Accredited journalists can register to enter the IRC Newsroom for embargoed materials linked to major events.
The IRC research pages
and publications pages
also provide comprehensive information on ongoing work and activities.