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Professor Virpi Timonen

Professor (Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy)

A Finnish national who earned her doctorate at the University of Oxford, Professor Timonen's work focuses on the sociology of ageing and social policies as they are unfolding in ageing societies. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, books and chapters on sociology and social politics of the human life course from youth to old age, including widely-cited contributions to understanding later lives in the context of intergenerational relations within families and societies. Her work on care policies illuminates the ways in which public, private and informal actors' involvement in the care of older people is evolving in ageing societies. She has drawn out the significance of social constructions of ethnicity in the production of care and the centrality of gender in shaping family solidarities and care practices. Her Model Ageing theory amounts to a fundamental critique of paradigms that currently dominate policy making for older adults. Professor Timonen is also a research methodologist who is making Grounded Theory more accessible and usable among a wide range of researchers across substantive fields of research. Professor Timonen's journal articles span many disciplinary and inter-disciplinary journals indicative of the broad intellectual scope and appeal of her work - including, for instance, Social Science & Medicine, Ageing & Society, Family Relations, Health Services Research, Gender & Society, Research on Aging, Palliative Medicine, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, among many others. Professor Timonen has authored several books including a well-received theoretical treatise Beyond successful and active ageing: A theory of model ageing (2016); and edited Contemporary grandparenting (2012), the first book on grandparenting in global contexts, followed by a sequel (at publisher's request) titled Grandparenting practices around the world (2018). These books are the first compilations of research on grandparenting from all continents. In 2014-2018, Professor Timonen served as the elected President of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC11) of the International Sociological Association (ISA), the largest global scholarly community of social gerontologists. Professor Timonen has supervised to successful completion 13 PhDs, and is currently supervising four PhD students. She has supervised the work of five post-doctoral researchers. Professor Timonen has designed and delivered several undergraduate courses ranging from introductory social policy to advanced social gerontology, and authored Ageing societies: A comparative introduction, a major undergraduate textbook. She is one of the key instructors in a massive open online course (MOOC) on ageing that was launched in February 2016, with an expected global audience of 40,000 learners
  Ageing and the life-course   Community Services   FAMILY   FAMILY STUDIES   Globalization   Governmental Functions   Immigrants   Intergenerational Solidarity   Migrant care workers   Migration   National Planning/Policy   OLDER ADULTS   OLDER PEOPLE   OLDER PERSONS   Politics of the welfare state   Senior Citizen Service Programs   Social security policy   Social Services   Social Services Delivery   Social Services Planning/Policy   Social Welfare Planning/Policy   Welfare Reform
 SoCaTel - Co-creating for better services
 Living and dying with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Population based Analysis of Palliative Needs, Services and Outcomes in non-malignant terminal illness
 Research with parents
 Intergenerational Solidarity and Justice in Ireland
 Living Independently at Home: Reforms in Organisation and Governance of European Home Care for Elderly and Disabled People

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Details Date
President, Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC 11) of the International Sociological Association 2014-2018
Non-executive Director (Board member), Board of St James's Hospital, Dublin [by College nomination and Ministerial appointment] 2013-2018
Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning (and member of the School Executive), School of Social Work and Social Policy 2015-2018
Visiting Professor, University of Helsinki (Faculty of Social Sciences) February 2019
Collaborator, Centre of Excellence for Care and Ageing, funded by the Academy of Finland 2018 -
International Editorial Adviser (Editorial Board); Ageing & Society, Cambridge University Press 2018-2020
Director of Research (and member of the School Executive), School of Social Work and Social Policy 2008 -2010
Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Aging Studies 2013-
Chairperson, Board sub-committee on Quality, Safety and Risk, St. James's hospital, Dublin 2013 - 2018
Expert Adviser for the New Zealand Science Challenges national funding programme (Tranche 2: Ageing Well strand) 2014
Adjunct Professor (Docent), Social and Public Policy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland [lifelong appointment] 2012-
Executive Committee member, Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing ( 2005 - 2013
Co-Chairperson, Research Committee on Sociology of Ageing (RC11), International Sociological Association (ISA) conference, Yokohama, Japan. 2013 - July 2014
Chairperson of the Translational Research and Policy Implementation sub-committee of TILDA 2009 - 2012
Theme Champion, the Inclusive Societies research theme 2013-16
Director, the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC) 2005-2013
Steering Committee member, Trinity Consortium on Ageing 2004 - 2010
School co-ordinator and examiner for the College Scholarship Examinations in Social Policy 2016-
Member of the Steering Committee overseeing the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between Trinity College Dublin and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) 2010-
Associate Chairperson, Trinity Consortium on Ageing January 2006 -January 2008
Board Member, European Social Policy Association (ESPAnet) 2007 -
Policy Standing Committee, National Council on Ageing and Older People (replaced in 2009 by the National Office for Older People, Department of Health and Children) January 2004 - 2008
Officer-at-large, Research Committee on Ageing, International Sociological Association July 2006 -
COST EU expert committee on Health and Social Care for Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Europe 2007 - 2011
Member of Research Ethics Approval Committee, School of Social Work and Social Policy 2008 -2010
Programme Committee Member, ISA World Forum of Sociology 2008 (Barcelona), RC11 (Ageing Research) 2007
Organising committee, Research Committee on Ageing (RC11), World Congress of the International Sociological Association, 2010 (Gothenburg); Program committee for RC11 for the XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology 2014(Yokohama, Japan). . 2008-2014
Visiting Researcher, National Europe Centre, Australian National University April - August 2007
Member of the Expert Group that was convened, by invitation, to draft the NORFACE ('New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe') Research programme call entitled 'Welfare State Futures' 2011/12
Programme Coordinator, Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC11), International Sociological Association, World Forum (Vienna) 2016
Adjunct, Community Wellbeing Research Centre, Social Science Korea project, funded by National Research Foundation of Korea 2019-
Guest Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Tampere University (Finland) April 2017
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Finnish Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Basic Basic
German Fluent Medium Medium
Swedish Fluent Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
European Social Policy Association (ESPAnet), former Board member
International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee 11 (Sociology of Ageing)
Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Doing intergenerational friendship: Challenging the dominance of age homophily in friendship, Canadian Journal of Aging - La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 2020, Journal Article, ACCEPTED  TARA - Full Text
From 'active' to 'capable': a capability framework for policy and practice on ageing and later life in, editor(s)Yerkes, M., .Javornik, J. and Kurowska, A. , Social policy and the capability approach: Concepts, measurements and application, Bristol and Chicago, Policy Press and The University of Chicago Press, 2019, pp41 - 60, [De São José, J., Timonen, V., Amado, C. and Santos, S.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Intergenerational friendships of older adults: Why do we know so little about them?, Ageing & Society, 2019, p1 - 16, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Escaping "the old fogey": Doing old age through intergenerational friendship, Journal of Aging Studies, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
McDonald, A., Lolich, L., Timonen, V. and Warters, A., "Time is more important than anything else": Tensions of time in home care of older adults in Ireland, International Journal of Care and Caring, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Timonen, V. and Lolich, A., "The poor carer": Ambivalent social construction of the home care worker in elder care services , Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Luciana Lolich, Isabella Riccò, Blanca Deusdad, Virpi Timonen,, Embracing technology? Health and Social Care professionals' attitudes to the deployment of e-Health initiatives in elder care services in Catalonia and Ireland,, Technological Forecasting and Social Change,, 147, 2019, p63 - 71, Notes: [ ], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Theurer, K., Stone, R., Suto, M., Timonen, V., Brown, S. and Mortenson, B., Loneliness, depression and peer mentoring in nursing homes, JAMDA (Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine), 2019, Journal Article, IN_PRESS
Timonen, V. (Editor), Grandparenting practices around the world, Bristol and Chicago, Policy Press/Bristol University Press and University of Chicago Press., 2018, 1-291pp, Book, PUBLISHED
Turning the 'problem' into the solution: Hopes, trends and contradictions in home care policies for ageing populations in, editor(s)Boll, T., Ferring, D. and Valsiner, J. , Cultures of care in aging, Charlotte, NC, Information Age Publishing, 2018, pp39 - 55, [Timonen, V. and Rostgaard, T.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text

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Virpi Timonen & Luciana Lolich, "The Poor Carer": Ambivalent Social Construction of the Home Care Worker in Elder Care Services, Journal of Gerontological Social Work , 2019, Notes: [], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Emon, A. and Timonen, V., Graduate attributes: Social constructions and lived experiences of university students in Ireland, Journal of Education Culture and Society, 10, (2), 2019, p133 - 147, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Conlon, C., with contributions from V. Timonen and G. Dowling, Supporting parents communicating with children aged 4-9 years about relationships, sexuality and growing up, Dublin, HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, January, 2018, pi - 106, Report, PUBLISHED
Scharf, T., Timonen, V., Conlon, C. and Carney, G., Changing Generations - Findings from new research on intergenerational relations in Ireland, Dublin and Galway, Trinity College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway, April, 2013, 20 pp., Report, PUBLISHED
Kamiya, Y., Murphy, C., Savva, G. and Timonen, V., Profile of Community-Dwelling Older People with a Disability and their Caregivers in Ireland, Dublin, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing and the Department of Health and Children, May, 2012, Report, PUBLISHED
Alan Barrett, George Savva, Virpi Timonen and Rose Anne Kenny (eds), Fifty plus in Ireland 2011: First results from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, May, 2011, Report, PUBLISHED
Pierce, Maria and Timonen, Virpi, A Discussion Paper on Theories of Ageing and Approaches to Welfare in Ireland, North and South, Dublin & Belfast, CARDI, 2010, Report, SUBMITTED
Kenny, R.A., Whelan, B.J., Cronin, H., Kamiya, Y., Kearney, P., O'Regan, C., Ziegel, M. (authors), Barrett, A., Finucane, C. and Timonen, V. (eds.) , The Design of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing., Dublin, 2010, 135 pages, Report, PUBLISHED
Pierce, Maria, Fitzgerald, Siobhan and Timonen, Virpi, Summary and Comparison of Key Social Provisions for Older People in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, 2010, Working Paper, SUBMITTED
Timonen, Virpi, Martha Doyle and David Prendergast, No Place Like Home: Domiciliary Care Services for Older People in Ireland., Dublin, Liffey Press, 2006, 233 pagespp, Book, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Fellow of Trinity College Dublin Elected May 2009
Adjunct, Community wellbeing research centre, Social Science Korea project, funded by National Research Foundation of Korea 2019-
Visiting professor, University of Helsinki (Faculty of Social Sciences) February 2019
Guest professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Tampere University (Finland) April 2017
Docent (Adjunct Professor), University of Jyväskylä, Finland, from November 2012- (lifelong appointment) Since 2012
Visiting Research Fellow, National Europe Centre, Australian National University, Canberra April - August 2007
Collaborator, Centre of Excellence for Care and Ageing, funded by the Academy of Finland 2018 -
Kone Foundation (Finland) scholarship to carry out doctoral research 1997-99
Economic and Social Research Council (UK) scholarship to study for the M.Phil. degree at Oxford 1995-97
Ministry of Education (Finland) scholarship to attend United World College of the Atlantic, Wales 1989-91
Professor Timonen's work has shaped understanding of ageing societies across several inter-connected topics of research. First, her work pertaining to long-term care policies has illuminated the ways in which public, private and informal actors' involvement in care is evolving over time. Her work on this topic is highly-cited both among scholars and in policy debates and is grounded in her earlier research on the politics of welfare state restructuring, also widely cited. Through her work, Professor Timonen has demonstrated the strategies that governments follow in trying to 'square the circle' of expanding demand for care and concerns about costs of care. Second, Professor Timonen's investigations of family-level practices between different generations have provided new insights into how older adults contribute to the maintenance of family solidarity but also make choices that break with established roles, for instance when grandchild care is expected. Her investigations of intergenerational solidarity at societal level have revealed the interconnectedness of public and private solidarities, especially in welfare states such as Ireland that are dependent on practices of solidarity at family and community level. Third, Professor Timonen's work has demonstrated the centrality of social positionalities to both individual and societal level patterns in ageing societies, in particular she has drawn out the significance of social constructions around ethnicity in the production of care and the centrality of gender in shaping family-level care practices. Fourth, Professor Timonen has generated original theory on how older adults and 'successful' ageing are socially constructed by a range of actors, including policy-making processes and commercial interests. She theorises that these actors 'model' old age in ways that are detrimental to the marginalised groups among older adults. Finally, Professor Timonen is a research methodologist with a rapidly growing profile as scholar who is making Grounded Theory more accessible and usable among a wide range of researchers across substantive fields of research. In totality, these contributions demonstrate novel inter-linking of domains, intrepid theorising, and original contributions to research methodology.