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A new initiative to improve the co-ordination of childcare research is to be launched at Queen's University.
One of the first moves will be to establish a web-based database housing details of work carried out in NI.
Queen's vice-chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said the forum was an excellent partnership, bringing researchers and academics together.
"Members come from a broad range of professions, including social care, psychology, education and nursing."
He added: "The forum's objectives reflect its pivotal position in the childcare research field. It is an exciting new venture which I am confident will bring considerable added value to children's research."
Dr Kathy Higgins of the Queen's University Institute of Childcare Research said the initiative would assist in developing ideas, sharing best practice and co-ordinating efforts.
"With the forthcoming new 10-year Children's Strategy we have the opportunity to inform and develop services to meet the needs of children," she said.
"Local research will be key to evidencing and shaping better outcomes for children."
- reprinted from BBC