Professor Lucie Cluver

Lucie Cluver is a Professor of Child and Family Social Work, in the Centre for Evidence-Based Social Intervention in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and an Honorary Professor in Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town. She works closely with the South African government, UNDP, USAID-PEPFAR, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and with other international agencies, to provide evidence that can improve the lives of children and adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lucie is lucky to work with an incredible and dedicated team of PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and colleagues. Together they lead large-scale longitudinal surveys and randomised controlled trials of interventions, combined with participatory qualitative research.

From February 2019, Lucie is the Principal Investigator for the new £20 million UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents Hub. Find out more here.


The UKRI GCRF Accelerate Hub

The goal of this new research programme is to promote success for Africa’s adolescents, and the children of adolescent parents. The Hub works in 34 countries across Africa to identify effective services with synergies across multiple Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Accelerators’. It responds to requests from policymakers for evidence that helps them to make the best, cost-effective policies for their adolescents. Partners include the African Union Development Agency, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, & UN Women, regional NGOs providing direct services, and is led by 11 African and 3 UK research institutions. It works closely with adolescents themselves as co-leaders in design and impact. The Hub has a particular focus on capacity-sharing for early-career African academics. (Co-Directors Prof Lorraine Sherr, Prof Chris Desmond)   

Supporting parents and preventing violence against children

Lucie co-leads the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) Initiative – a collaboration between the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and academics to provide evidence-based non-commercialised child violence prevention programmes for LMIC. Since 2012, the PLH team has developed and tested programmes in randomised controlled trials in Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, the Philippines and Thailand. They are now being scaled up in 21 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, India and Latin America. The PLH team is now working with implementing partners to pool data collected routinely across these locations so that we can better understand programme delivery and effectiveness at scale (co-leads Prof Cathy Ward, Prof Frances Gardner, Prof Mark Tomlinson, Dr Daniel Oliver, Dr Jamie Lachman, Dr Inge Wessels)

Cash plus care for adolescents in Africa

Working with a dedicated team in close collaboration with policymakers, Lucie has pioneered research on ‘cash plus care’ – examining the impacts of social protection and psychosocial care on adolescent health. This has led to UNAIDS and UNICEF guidance and delivery of cash + care programs to millions of children and adolescents in Southern and Eastern Africa (with Prof Mark Orkin, Prof Lorraine Sherr, Dr Mark Boyes, Dr Franziska Meinck).

Supporting success for adolescents living with HIV (Mzantsi Wakho) and young parents (HEY BABY)

With Dr Elona Toska (University of Cape Town), Lucie co-leads the first community-based large panel of HIV-positive adolescents and community controls, including 1500 adolescents in South Africa over four years, and integrating qualitative research led by Dr Rebecca Hodes (University of Cape Town).

Also with Dr Elona Toska, Lucie co-leads the first known longitudinal study in Africa to assess pathways to resilience amongst adolescent parent families living with and without HIV. This ongoing study includes 900 adolescent parents and child dyads.

Previous work

Lucie has led major longitudinal studies: the ‘Young Carers Study’ (2008-2012, with Dr Mark Boyes) was the world’s largest study of risk and resilience amongst AIDS-affected children, including 6000 children with longitudinal follow-up in South Africa, the ‘Orphan Resilience Study’ (2005-2009 with Prof Frances Gardner) followed 1000 children over four years to identify impacts of orphanhood.


The team’s work has won a number of awards, including an European Union Council Conference Social Sciences and Humanities Impact Award (2019), ESRC Oxford University Excellence in Impact Award (2018), ESRC's Outstanding International Impact Prize (2017), the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2015), the International AIDS Society Young Investigator Award (2014), and the Discovery Clinical Excellence Award (2013). Prof Cluver was included in UKRI’s ‘Women with Impact’ (2019) and in UNICEF’s ‘Women at the heart of the HIV response for Children’ (2018).

Working together and promoting early-career authorship, they have published over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals including the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the Lancet Global Health, BMJ Global Health, AIDS, JAIDS, J Child Psychiatry and Psychology, Social Science and Medicine, AIDS Care and Prevention Science.

This research has been generously supported by:

UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund, Medical Research Council (MRC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) National Institutes of Health Research (NIHR), European Research Council (ERC), the Nuffield Foundation, Research England, Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Leverhulme Trust, Evidence for HIV Prevention in Southern Africa (EHPSA), a UK aid programme managed by Mott MacDonald, the National Research Foundation (South Africa), UNICEF, USAID-PEPFAR, Ilifa Labantwana, the Claude Leon Foundation, the National Department of Social Development South Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the John Fell Fund, the Oak Foundation, University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, Regional Inter-Agency Task Team for Children Affective by AIDS – Eastern and Southern Africa (RIATT-ESA), Gates Foundation, Wellspring Advisors, The Wellcome Trust, ELMA philanthropies, Rockefeller Foundation, HEARD at UKZN, the International AIDS Society through the CIPHER grant, FHI360, the University of Oxford’s’ Clarendon Scholarship Fund, HelpAge, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Selected publications

Cluver, L, Pantelic, M, Toska, E, Orkin, M, Casale, M, Sherr, L (in press). STACKing the odds for adolescent survival: Health service factors associated with retention in care and adherence amongst adolescents living with HIV in South Africa. Journal of the International AIDS Society. 

Rudgard, W, Carter, D, Scuffell, J, Cluver, L, Fraser-Hurt, N, Boccia, D (in press) Cash transfers to enhance TB control: Lessons from the global HIV response. BMC Public Health.

Hodes, R. Vale, B, Toska, E, Cluver, L, Dowse, R, Ashorn, M (in press). ‘Yummy or Crummy: The multisensory components of medicines-taking among HIV-positive youth. Global Public Health.

Steinert, J, Cluver, L, Meinck, F, Doubt, J, Vollmer, S (in press) Household Economic Strengthening through Saving and Budgeting: Evidence from a Field Experiment in South Africa. Journal of Development Economics.

Cluver, L. Meinck, F. Toska, E., Orkin, F. M. Hodes, R. Sherr, L. (2018). Violence exposure and adolescent antiretroviral non-adherence in South Africa. AIDS.

Cluver, L, Pantelic, M, Orkin, M, Toska, E, Medley, S, Sherr, L (2018) Sustainable Survival: Which SDGs protect against mortality risk for adolescents living with HIV? Journal of the International AIDS Society.

Cluver, L., Pantelic, M., Orkin, M., Toska, E., Medley, S., & Sherr, L. (2018). Sustainable Survival for adolescents living with HIV: do SDG-aligned provisions reduce potential mortality risk?. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 21 Suppl 1. doi:10.1002/jia2.25056

Cluver LD, Meinck F, Steinert JI, et al. Parenting for Lifelong Health: a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Glob Heal 2018;3.

Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Steinert, J., Shenderovich, Y., Doubt, J., Herrero Romero, R., . . . Gardner, F. (n.d.). Parenting for Lifelong Health: A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Global Health.

Cluver, L., & Sherr, L. (2017). Integrating disclosure support into family HIV care.. The Lancet. HIV, 4(12), e534-e535. doi:10.1016/s2352-3018(17)30153-4

Cluver, L. D., Lachman, J. M., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Peterson, T., Hutchings, J. M., . . . Redfern, A. A. (2017). Development of a Parenting Support Program to Prevent Abuse of Adolescents in South Africa: Findings From a Pilot Pre-Post Study. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(7), 758-766. doi:10.1177/1049731516628647

Cluver, L. D., Orkin, F. M., Yakubovich, A. R., & Sherr, L. (2016). Combination Social Protection for Reducing HIV-Risk Behavior Among Adolescents in South Africa.. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999), 72(1), 96-104. doi:10.1097/qai.0000000000000938

Cluver, L. D., Lachman, J. M., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Peterson, T., Hutchings, J. M., . . . Redfern, A. A. (2017). Development of a Parenting Support Program to Prevent Abuse of Adolescents in South Africa. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(7), 758-766. doi:10.1177/1049731516628647

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, M, Yakubovich, A, Sherr, L (2016) Can Social Protection Improve Sustainable Development Goals for Adolescent Health?. PLOSOne. 11(10): e0164808 

Cluver, L, Meinck, F, Shenderovich, Y, Ward, C, Herrero Romero, R, Redfern, A, Lombard, C, Doubt, J, Steinert, J, Catanho, R, Wittesaele, C, De Stone, S, Salah, N, Mpimpilashe, P, Lachman, J, Loening, H, Gardner, F, Blanc, D, Nocuza, M, Lechowicz, M (2016). A parenting programme to prevent abuse of adolescents in South Africa: a study protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials. 17. 328.

Cluver, L, Meinck, F, Yakubovich, A, Doubt, J, et al (2016). Reducing child abuse amongst adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: A pre-post trial in South Africa. BMC Public Health. 13;16(1):567 

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Yakubovich, A, Sherr, L (2016). Combination social protection for reducing HIV-risk behaviour amongst adolescents in South Africa. JAIDS. 72: 96-104    

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Meinck, F, Boyes, M and Sherr, L (2016). Structural drivers and social protection: Mechanisms of HIV-risk and HIV-prevention for South African adolescents. Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS). 19. 2064-6.    

Cluver, L, Toska, E, Orkin, M, Yakubovich, A, Hodes, R, Sherr, L (2016). Achieving equity in HIV-treatment outcomes: Can social protection improve adolescent ART-adherence in South Africa? AIDS Care Equity Special Issue. Suppl  2 73-82

Cluver, L, Hodes, R, Toska, E, Kidia, K, Orkin, M, Sherr, L, Meinck, F (2015). ‘HIV is like a tsotsi. ARVs are your guns’: Associations between HIV-disclosure and adherence to antiretroviral treatment among adolescents in South Africa. AIDS. 29. Suppl 1. S57-65. 

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Sherr, L (2014) Cash plus care: social protection cumulatively mitigates HIV-risk behaviour among adolescents in South Africa. AIDS. S389-97

Cluver, L, Boyes, Ma, Orkin, M, Pantelic, Mc, Molwena, T & Sherr, L (2013) Child-focused state cash transfers and adolescent HIV-infection risks: A prospective multi-site study in South Africa. The Lancet: Global Health. 1. E362-70

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Sherr, L, Nikelo, J & Makhasi, D (2013). Pathways from parental AIDS to child psychological, educational and sexual risk: Developing an empirically-based interactive theoretical model. Social Science and Medicine, 87. 185-193

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma & Gardner, F (2012) ‘AIDS-orphanhood and caregiver HIV/AIDS sickness status: effects on psychological symptoms in South African youth’ Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes,a M & Gardner, F (2012) Persisting mental health problems among AIDS-orphaned children in South Africa. Journal of Child Psychiatry & Psychology. 53 (4) 363-370.

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Gardner, F, & Meinck, Fc (2011) ‘Transactional Sex amongst AIDS-orphaned and AIDS-Affected Adolescents Predicted by Abuse and Extreme Poverty’. JAIDS 58 (3) 336-43   

Cluver, L, Bowes, L & Gardner, F (2010) Risk & protective factors for bullying victimisation amongst AIDS-affected & vulnerable children in S.Africa. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34 793-803 

Cluver, L, Gardner, F & Operario, D (2007). Psychological distress amongst AIDS-orphaned children in urban South Africa Journal of Child Psychiatry & Psychology & Allied Disciplines 48(8) 755-763

Oxford Research Archive
  • Consistent Provisions Mitigate Exposure to Sexual Risk and HIV Among Young Adolescents in South Africa.

  • Which Factors Are Associated With Adolescent Reports of Experiencing Various Forms of Abuse at the Family Level in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda?

  • Transition Pathways out of Pediatric Care and Associated HIV Outcomes for Adolescents Living with HIV in South Africa.

  • Parenting for Lifelong Health for young children: a randomized controlled trial of a parenting program in South Africa to prevent harsh parenting and child conduct problems.

  • Dreams of an AIDS-free generation: Which supportive factors delay onset of adolescent sexual HIV-risk behaviours in South Africa

  • Final Report of a Project funded by the Nuffield Foundation: Pathways to Survival - Identifying psychosocial, family and service mechanisms to improve anti-retroviral adherence amongst adolescents living with HIV in Southern Africa

  • Recent Interventions to Improve Retention in HIV Care and Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment Among Adolescents and Youth: A Systematic Review.

  • Delivering a Parenting Program in South Africa: The Impact of Implementation on Outcomes

  • Improving lives by accelerating progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals for adolescents living with HIV: a prospective cohort study.

  • TEST Household Economic Strengthening through Saving and Budgeting: Evidence from a Field Experiment in South Africa

  • More

Lucie Cluver - CV (June 2019)

Previous students

Lucie's previous DPhil students have gone on to be successful in academia, policy and practice:

  • Caroline Kuo (2010) - is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University
  • Lena Saleh (2012) - is the Director of Program Planning in HIV Prevention in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Tyler Lane (2013) - is a research fellow in the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research at Monash University
  • Franziska Meinck (2014) - is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions at Oxford
  • Beth Vale (2015) - is a researcher in humanities at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA)
  • Jamie Lachman (2016) - is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions at Oxford
  • Elona Toska (2017) -  is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cape Town

Lucie is interested in supervising students who are absolutely dedicated to improving outcomes for children and young people in Africa. She is not interested in research without real impact. A really good grasp of statistics and teamwork are essential. She especially welcomes students from the African region.

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