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Judith Phillips is Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor of Gerontology and Director of the Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences, a cross-university initiative to promote social science at Swansea University. She is also Director of the Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network in Wales (OPAN Cymru) one of the 17 NISCHR networks funded in Wales.

Judith is a gerontologist interested in researching the social, behavioural and environmental aspects of ageing. She currently represents Senate on the Court and has extensive links with policy and practice, particularly with the Welsh Government and with local authority social service departments and local business interested in ageing issues. She is passionate about promoting interdisciplinary research in the university and raising the visibility and impact of our research particularly on the international stage.

Following a geography degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, she went to study at Stockholm University, Jesus College, Oxford and UEA, Norwich, where she worked as a researcher and a lecturer before joining the Centre for Social Gerontology at the University of Keele in 1993. Judith returned to Wales in 2004 to set up the Centre for Innovative Ageing.

Judith holds visiting Senior Research Fellowships at the universities of Umeå and Lund, Sweden; New College, Oxford (2011) and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Areas of Expertise

  • ageing and older people
  • urban design quality
  • older people
  • ambivalence
  • family solidarity
  • unfamiliar environments
  • attachment to place
  • sense of place
  • placelessness
  • rural
  • age-friendly
  • social work
  • gerontological social work
  • spatial anxiety


  1. Kylberg, M., Löfqvist, C., Tomsone, S., Phillips, J., Liepina, Z., Iwarsson, S. A European Perspective on the Service Delivery Systems for Assistive Technology – Differences and Similarities Between Latvia and Sweden Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
  2. Nyman, S., Ballinger, C., Phillips, J., Newton, R. Characteristics of outdoor falls among older people: a qualitative study BMC Geriatrics 13 1 125
  3. Ray, M., Milne, A., Beech, C., Phillips, J., Richards, S., Sullivan, M., Tanner, D., Lloyd, L., Phillips, J., Beech, C. Gerontological Social Work: Reflections on its Role, Purpose and Value British Journal of Social Work 45 4 1296 1312
  4. Kylberg, M., Löfqvist, C., Phillips, J., Iwarsson, S. Three very old men's experiences of mobility device use over time Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy 20 5 397 405
  5. Phillips, J., Dobbs, C., Burholt, V. Extracare: Does it promote residential satisfaction compared to residential and home care? British Journal Of Social Work

See more...


  • ''Policy, Process and Personalities: An exploration of the Interconnected factors that influence Interprofessional working with risk and older people within a multidisciplinary team '' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Prof Judith Phillips
    Other supervisor: Prof Vanessa Burholt
    Other supervisor: Prof Fiona Verity

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor

    2011 - Present

  • Director - Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences

    2009 - Present

  • Scientific Director - Centre for Innovative Ageing

    2009 - Present

  • Head of School - School of Human Sciences

    2007 - 2009

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2004 Present Professor of Gerontology and Social Work Swansea University
2001 2004 Professor of Social Gerontology Keele University
1998 2001 Senior Lecturer Keele University
1993 1998 Lecturer in Social Work and Gerontology Keele University
1989 1993 Lecturer in Social Work University of East Anglia
1988 1989 Research Associate University of East Anglia
1983 1985 Social Worker Wiltshire County Council

External Responsibilities

  • Guest Professor, Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Sweden

    2011 - 2013

  • Visiting Senior Research Fellow, London School of Economics -NIHR School for Social Care Research

    2011 - 2013

  • Chair, British Council on Ageing

    2010 - Present

  • President, The British Society of Gerontology

    2008 - 2010

  • Member of the Forskningsrådet för arbetsliv och socialvetenskap, FAS Board, Stockholm (Swedish Research Council)

    2013 - Present

  • Member, REF Social Policy and Social Work Unit of Assessment

    2011 - Present

  • Executive member, Global Social Initiative on Ageing, International Association of

    2011 - Present

  • Impact Pilot Panel Member, REF

    2010 - 2010

Key Grants and Projects

  • Supporting the development of a National Institute for Social Care and Health Research All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration 2011 - 2015

    £792,311 to support the development of a National Institute for Social Care and Health Research All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (NISCHR ASCC). Co-Investigator 2011-2015 and £195,000 from NISCHR for the ASCC Academy 2012-15.

  • Research and Development for the OPAN network 2010 - 2015

    £1.3 m from Welsh Office for Research and Development for the OPAN network, Principle Investigator 2010 -15

  • CFAS Cognitive Function in Ageing Study 2010 - 2015

    £3.7m from the ESRC and HEFCW for the CFAS Cognitive Function in Ageing Study (with Cambridge, Bangor and Liverpool Universities) plus 2 ESRC 3+1 studentships, Co-Investigator, 2010 -15

  • Going Outdoors, Falls, Ageing and Resilience (GO FAR) 2011 - 2013

    £310,403 From the Medical Research Council (Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme) for Going Outdoors, Falls, Ageing and Resilience (GO FAR). Co-Investigator.

  • KTP: Wales Care in Business 2010 - 2012

    £143,000 from Welsh Assembly Government for KTP: Wales Care in Business. Principle Investigator.

  • Feasibility study exploring links between ageing and business 2010 - 2010

    £16,745 from the Welsh Assembly Government for a feasibility study exploring links between ageing and business

  • Bridging the Gaps call 4: Bringing People Together 2010 - 2013

    £790,239 from the EPSRC Bridging the Gaps call 4: Bringing People Together, Co-investigator,

  • Care of older people who fall: evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of new protocols for emergency ambulance personnel to access and refer to appropriate community based care. 2008 - 2011

    £1,011,406 from the HTA and £130,000 from the NHS.

  • Grey and Pleasant Land? An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society 2008 - 2011

    £1.3m from the New Dynamics Of Ageing Programme (ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, AHRC).

  • Extracare: for fit or frail older people? 2007 - 2010

    £231,560 from the Welsh Office for Research and Development

  • Older People’s Use of Unfamiliar Space 2007 - 2010

    £305,000 from the New Dynamics of Ageing Cross Research Council programme (ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, AHRC).

  • Social Care Research Priorities and Capacity in Wales 2007 - 2007

    £73,661 from WORD

  • Development of Services for older people in the 21st Century 2006 - 2006

    £146,000 from Rhondda Cynon Taff and Powys County Council

  • Evaluation of the costs and benefits of computerised on-scene decision support for emergency ambulance personnel to assess and plan appropriate care for older people who have fallen: a randomised controlled trial (SAFER trial) 2006 - 2010

    £372,000 Department of Health

  • Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network 2005 - 2010

    £609,375 from The Welsh Office of Research and Development.

  • The Modernisation of Social Care Services: A Study of the Effectiveness of the National Strategy for Carers in Meeting Carer Needs. 2003 - 2003

    £331,570 from the Department of Health (with colleagues from Bangor and Swansea Universities).

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of workplace based support to adult carers 2000 - 2000

    £92,000 from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

  • Old Age and Autonomy: the Role of Service Systems and Intergenerational Family Solidarity 2000 - 2000

    £145,000 from the European Union Fifth Framework Programme (with colleagues from Israel, Spain, Norway and Germany).

  • Population and Household Change Programme, Patterns of Kinship and Household Change in an Urban Environment: the experiences and responses of older people 1994 - 1997

    £192,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council, with C. Phillipson, M. Bernard, J. Ogg

Research Groups

  • OPAN

    Older People & Ageing Research & Development Network


    Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences

  • CIA

    Centre for Innovative Ageing

  • Environment of ageing research development group

    Environment of ageing research development group