Helen Russell is a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute. She is the head of the Social Research Division and coordinator for research on the Quality of Life. She holds a D.Phil. in Sociology from the University of Oxford. Before joining the ESRI in 1998 she was a Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Her research covers a range of inter-connecting issues relating to employment, equality and social inclusion. Recent equality research looked at the impact of the recession on employment and unemployment across a range of grounds covered by equality legislation including gender, age, disability and nationality. The implications of the recession for gender differences in the quality of work such as job pressure, hours of work, pay and autonomy were also assessed in a recent publication (see below). The intersection between work and family life is also a theme addressed in Helen’s research using the Growing Up in Ireland survey.
Recent studies have examined the patterns of childcare and the effects of different forms of care on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. As part of this work she is involved in the Edulife project which is examining the effects of early education and childcare on social inequality across a range of European countries. Within the topic of Health & Quality of Life, Helen is leading a Research Programme on Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work with the Health and Safety Authority. Initial publications from the Programme examined work-related illness and injury in Ireland over a twelve year period, and exposure to physical and psycho-social hazards among workers across Europe. New research is focused on specific types of illness, including work-related stress.
Helen is also involved in comparative European research on employment and quality of life issues. She is very actively involved in the European Social Survey (ESS), a major European infrastructure project in the social sciences. Helen was a member of international survey design team for special ESS modules on Family, Work and Wellbeing fielded across Europe in 2004 and 2010. The results of this research have been communicated widely in academic and policy outputs. She also serves on the General Assembly for the European Social Survey and is currently the chairperson for the national steering group in Ireland. With other colleagues at the ESRI Helen is involved in a major European-wide study on youth labour market transitions, STYLE. Her research investigates the effects of unemployment and insecurity on the well-being of young people and considers whether policies that promote flexibility and financial security mitigate the effects of unemployment.
Helen’s research on poverty and social inclusion includes studies on household joblessness, trends in poverty and financial strain over the recession and the relationship between poverty and multi-dimensional measures of quality of life. Helen is an Assistant Editor for The Economic and Social Review, she is a member of the Technical Advisory Group on Poverty Measurement for the Department of Social Protection, and a board member of the European Consortium for Sociological Research.