Associate Professor Sally Staton

ARC DECRA Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute

ARC DECRA Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute

Affiliate of Child Health Research

Child Health Research Centre
Faculty of Medicine


Dr Sally Staton is a Senior Research Fellow in the Science of Learning Research Centre at the Queensland Brain Institute, UQ. Dr Staton has a strong commitment to research that can inform and ensure positive early life experience for all children. Her research focuses on the role of early education and care settings in supporting young children’s immediate and on-going social-emotional, cognitive and physical development. Dr Staton’s research spans a range of study designs and methodologies, including evaluation studies in educational settings (applying randomised control trial and quasi-experimental designs), longitudinal studies tracking large child cohorts (>2000 children), standard observation techniques (in vivo and video), survey and individualised standard child assessment (using educational and psychological measures), as well as studies employing physiological (cortisol, actigraphy, heart rate variability) and qualitative (child, educator and parent interviews, socio-metric) designs. She has a particular expertise in the development, application and interpretation of observational measurement for educational practices and teacher-child interactions in education contexts, including early childhood settings. Dr Staton has a strong track record in research translation and community engagement, including delivery of reports for government and non-government organisations, professional development packages for early childhood professionals and teachers, presentations, workshops, videos and articles for parents, government regulatory officers and the early childhood sector. In 2016, she was named among Queensland’s Young Tall Poppy Scientists for her contribution to science translation and engagement. In 2019 her succesful research partnerships with industry and government was acknowledged in a Partners in Research Excellence Award from UQ.

Research Interests

  • Human Development
  • Children and families
  • Early Childhood Education and Care policy/practices
  • Measurement of early care environments
  • Child health and well-being
  • Children’s sleep patterns and development
  • Digital Technology use
  • In-situ observation methods
  • Mealtime interactions

Research Impacts

Key Examples of Research Impact include:

  • Implementation of the Assisting Observations Toolkit by the Queensland Government, Department of Education to inform practices of Authorised Officers responsible for Assessment and Rating of all Early Education and Care services in Queensland, Australia.
  • SLEEP Professional Development Program resources cited in childcare policy and procedure documents nationally, including government (e.g. Qld, SA education departments, ACECQA) and peak childcare organisations (e.g. C&K, Gowrie, Early Childhood Australia), and in doing so shaping legislative standards and practice expectations. See detailed description below.
  • Research informed national legislative changes in October 2017 (ACECQA; NQS) requiring all early childhood education and care providers to have documented policy and procedures for sleep, rest and relaxation.
  • News media coverage in over 200 media outlets nationally and internationally, including: Huffington Post, BBC, Fox News, Daily Mail, NBC, Reuters, ABC Radio, and Channel 9. I have also undertaken radio (ABC Local, and National), and television (Channel 9) interviews, with media seeking my opinion on topics including children’s sleep, napping in young children and sleep practices within the early childhood sector. In 2018 I was selected as a focus scientist for the Queensland Chief Scientist Science in Queensland Social Media Campaign.
  • SLEEP Program delivered (2015-2019) to >170 peak ECEC organisation leaders and >100 DoE regulatory officers in Qld, including the first pilot RCT study of the impacts of this program on educator practices and interaction quality between educators and children in ECEC services.
  • Research embedded within university Early Childhood training programs in Australia and internationally (UK).
  • Invitations from the Director of Research Services Qld Govt. DoE (2017 and 2018) to present the sleep project as an example of successful partnership between research and government leading to impact on educational policy and practice.
  • Delivery of the State of Early Learning in Australia Report, launched at Parliament House, Canberra, November 2019, including delivery of key indicators for Australia to inform policy and practice actions.
  • Research translation into oral language resources for ECEC educators, distributed nationally through the Evidence for Learning Website, Social Ventures Australia, and presented directly to early childhood teachers working in Australian communities experiencing high developmental vulnerability.
  • Featured scientist in state and national science engagement events and initiatives, including The Science of Sleep. ABC Radio National, Big Ideas Program (July 2019),
  • Tall Poppy Science Award for recognition of my contribution to science communication and translation and Partners in Research Excellence Award for excellence in partnerships in research with government and industry.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor (Honours), Queensland University of Technology
  • Postgraduate Diploma, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

View all Available Projects


Book Chapter

  • Thorpe, Karen, Staton, Sally and Bekkhus, Mona (2020). Twins and other multiples. Encyclopaedia of child and adolescent development. (pp. 1-15) edited by Stephen Hupp and Jeremy D Jewell. New York, United States: John Wiley and Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781119171492.wecad219

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Associate Professor Sally Staton is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

Associate Professor Sally Staton is not currently available to take on new students.