Mary Renfrew

Professor of Mother and Infant Health

Mother and Infant Research Unit

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

University of Dundee


Mary Renfrew has been Professor of Mother and Infant Health and Director of the multidisciplinary Mother and Infant Research Unit the University of Dundee since 2012.  A health researcher and midwife, Mary has conducted research in maternity care and in infant feeding and nutrition for over 30 years, and her work has informed and helped to shape public health policy and practice nationally and internationally. Her work has a core focus on improving health and care for women, babies and families, reducing the impact of inequalities, and evidence-informed policy and practice.

Mary is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, and has worked in the universities of Oxford, Leeds, and York, and in Alberta, Canada. Her research and development work has been supported by the MRC, NIHR, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, government departments, NHS agencies, and charities.  She has advised government departments and global organisations including the WHO, UNICEF, and ICM.  She has been invited to present her work in more than 25 countries.

She co-founded the Alberta Association of Midwives in the 1980s to work for the legalisation of midwifery in Alberta and across Canada. She was co-editor of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, and Chair of the WHO Strategic Group on Maternal and Newborn Health. She was awarded inaugural Senior Investigator status with the National Institute for Health Research in 2008, and she was Principal Investigator for the groundbreaking global Lancet Series on Midwifery (2011-2016).

Mary is currently a member of two WHO advisory groups, on quality of maternal and newborn care and on midwifery education, and she is a Board member of UNICEF UK.  She is leading the work to review the midwifery education standards for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the UK regulator. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.