Professor Richie Poulton heads the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Research Unit (DMHDRU). The Research Unit runs the ongoing Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (also known as the Dunedin Study) which is a detailed study of human health, development and behaviour, founded by Dr Phil A. Silva. The Dunedin Study has followed the lives of 1037 babies born between 1 April 1972 and 31 March 1973 at Queen Mary Maternity Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand, since their birth. The Study is now in its fifth decade and has produced over 1200 publications and reports, many of which have influenced or helped inform policy makers in New Zealand and overseas.
Sub-studies of the Dunedin Study include the Family Health History Study (conducted in 2003-2005) which gathered information about the health of the Study members' parents and families; the Parenting Study which began in 1994 as a study of Dunedin Study members who are parenting a 3 year old; and the Next Generation Study (commenced 2007) which is a study of the 15-year-old teenagers whom Study Members are parenting. These studies will provide valuable information across three generations of New Zealanders.
Major funders include the Health Research Council of New Zealand, US National Institutes of Health (various branches), the UK Medical Research Council, and the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).