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Dr Jane O'Brien

Director of Evidence & Evaluation, Youth Endowment Fund

Jane is a mixed methods social scientist who leads our evidence and evaluation work for the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF).

Jane has nearly 30 years of research experience across many sectors including academia, the cultural and consumer sectors and social research. Her breadth of research spans policies to reduce alcohol-related antisocial behaviour to washing machine testing, from the economic impact of the cultural sector to the future demand for English post-Brexit. She has held senior research roles in a number of national organisations, including director of policy research at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), deputy director of the National Academy of Parenting Research and head of research at Which?

Jane was director of the Children and Young People team at NatCen and led a team running national evaluations, including the Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England and the Study of Early Education and Development. Previous to joining YEF, Jane worked for a specialist future-forecasting agency, working on an eclectic mix of projects including trends for gap-year travel for empty-nesters, changing consumer tastes in funerals, and the lives of the most financially excluded.

Jane has a PhD in law and a BA(Hons) in economics.