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Professor Macdonald is the NIHR National Social Care Lead and Professor of Social Work at the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol.
Professor Macdonald was Business Director (Information and Knowledge Management) at the Commission for Social Care Inspection from 2004 to 2006, after which she took the Chair in Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she was Director of the Institute for Child Care Research.
A registered social worker, Professor Macdonald has been a long-standing advocate of the importance of rigorous research in social care and specialises in the evaluation of complex social interventions.
She is Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems, which she established in 1998 during her first tenure as Professor of Social Work at Bristol.
Professor Macdonald is a Senior Fellow in the NIHR School for Social Care Research, a Director of CoramBAAF (Adoption and Fostering) and member of the Cross-Government Trial Advice Panel.