About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Zhen Rao

Zhen works as senior researcher for Nesta’s a fairer start mission.

Prior to joining Nesta, Zhen led and supervised research projects in psychology and education at the University of Cambridge. Her research focussed on children’s social and emotional development, parent-child interaction, peer interaction, parental mental health and teacher development. Zhen has a special interest in understanding the role of play in child development and has observed and analysed play in infants, toddlers, older children and parents. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge and was a member of the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL).

Outside of work, Zhen enjoys walking in nature, looking after her plants and playing games with her family.