The Centre was founded in 1966 when the Nuffield Foundation awarded Professor Martin Richards a grant to conduct an observational follow-up study of Cambridge infants and their parents. The project was based in the Unit for Research on the Medical Applications of Psychology, set up as an embryonic Psychiatry department. Other researchers in developmental issues soon joined the Unit to study family relationships and child development. The Centre was renamed the Centre for Family Research in 1992.
The Centre works closely with other departments of Cambridge University. Initially we worked with the Experimental Psychology Laboratory and the Postgraduate Medical School. In the 1970s the Centre moved to the newly established Faculty of Social and Political Science. Since 1998 the Centre has had formal statutory status in the University. Professor Martin Richards retired as Director in 2005 and is now Emeritus Professor.
In 2006, Professor Susan Golombok became the new Director of the Centre. Professor Golombok had previously directed the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University, London, established by her in 1989 to conduct research on parent-child relationships and the psychological development of children raised in non-traditional families. The work of that Centre has now been integrated into the Centre of Family Research.
As part of the merger of the Departments of Social and Developmental Psychology and Experimental Psychology, in August 2012, the Centre joined the new Department of Psychology while retaining its status as an Institute within the Faculty of Biology in the School of Biological Sciences.