Behavioural Sciences Unit


Until a cure for all childhood cancers has been found, it is our mandate to improve Hospital initiatives to better support patients and their families from diagnosis to survivorship and bereavement. To this end, the Behavioural Sciences Unit (BSU) was established in 2001 to conduct research studies that cover all psychosocial, behavioural and nutritional aspects of paediatric cancer. The BSU is based at, and supported by, the KCC.

Our research:

The psychosocial team focuses on research to prevent and/or better manage negative psychological outcomes in families affected by paediatric cancer using evidence-based psychological interventions. We particularly focus on those most at risk and underserviced. The nutrition team focuses on research evaluating diet intake and quality, enteral feeding and diet interventions to optimise the nutritional intake of childhood cancer patients and survivors.

Working with the BSU – students and collaborators:

The team is multidisciplinary, with representation from psychology, dietetics, paediatric oncology/haematology, social work, nursing, bereavement counseling, behavioural sciences, and exercise physiology.

The BSU collaborates with many organisations to stay at the forefront of paediatric oncology behavioural sciences research. These collaborations occur across BSU research interests, and with clinicians and research teams at a local, national and international level, and includes close ties with international experts from the USA, UK, Holland and Canada.

The BSU welcomes students/researchers interested in completing postgraduate studies for honours, masters, and doctoral programs, with the intent to develop a variety of skill sets for their future careers in paediatric oncology behavioural sciences. BSU accepts students from a variety of educational backgrounds, including medical, psychology, dietetic, exercise physiology, population health and social work students.

Consumer representatives are involved in all projects.


The quality of BSU research has been recognised through the receipt of numerous academic awards, government grants and international peer-reviewed publications.

The BSU projects, and staff, are supported by the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, National Health and Medical Research Council, Cancer Institute of NSW, Kids with Cancer Foundation, Cancer Australia, Beyond Blue, Kids Cancer Alliance, Leukaemia Foundation of Australia and the Anthony Rothe Memorial Trust, and many others.

For more detailed information about the BSU, please go to

If you, or your child, has survived childhood cancer and are interested in participating in childhood cancer survivorship research, please go to