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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 an interest in the life course from youth to old age, especially in the context of intergenerational relations within families and societies, and expertise in the Grounded Theory method. Professor Timonen has 100+ publications in high-quality journals, books and major reports. The disciplinary and inter-disciplinary journals she has published in include Social Science & Medicine, Ageing & Society, Family Relations, Health Services Research, Research on Aging, Palliative Medicine, among many others. Professor Timonen has authored several books including Beyond successful and active ageing: A theory of model ageing (2016); and co-edited Contemporary grandparenting (2012), the first book on grandparenting in global contexts, followed by Grandparenting practices around the world (2018). 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 12 PhDs, and is currently supervising four PhD students. She has supervised the work of four post-doctoral researchers. Professor Timonen has designed and delivered several undergraduate courses, 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
International Editorial Adviser (Editorial Board); Ageing & Society, Cambridge University Press 2018-2020
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, Social and Public policy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland 2012-
Board member, Board of St James's Hospital, Dublin 2013-2018
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
Steering Committee member, Trinity Consortium on Ageing 2004 - 2010
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
Director of Research, School of Social Work and Social Policy 2008 -2010
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
Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, School of Social Work and Social Policy 2015-2018
Programme Coordinator, Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC11), International Sociological Association, World Forum (Vienna) 2016
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)
Timonen, V. (Editor), Grandparenting practices around the world, Bristol and Chicago, Policy Press/Bristol University Press and University of Chicago Press., 2018, 1-290pp, Book, IN_PRESS
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, [Timonen, V. and Rostgaard, T.], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS  TARA - Full Text
'Introduction: Widening the lens on grandparenting' in, editor(s)Timonen, V. , Grandparenting practices around the world, Bristol and Chicago, Policy Press/Bristol University Press and University of Chicago Press., 2018, pp1-15 , [Timonen, V.], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
'Conclusions: the grandparents' century?' in, editor(s)Timonen, V. , Grandparenting practices around the world, Bristol and Chicago, Policy Press/Bristol University Press and University of Chicago Press., 2018, pp280-290 , [Timonen, V.], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Timonen V, Foley G, Conlon C., Challenges when using Grounded Theory: A pragmatic introduction to doing GT research, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, (1), 2018, p1 - 10, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Forsberg, H. and Timonen, V., The future of the family as envisioned by young adults in Ireland, Journal of Youth Studies, 2018, p1 - 15, Notes: [http://doi/full/10.1080/13676261.2017.1420761], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
McGarrigle, C., Timonen, V. and Layte, R., Choice and Constraint in the Negotiation of the Grandparent Role: A Mixed-Methods Study, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 2018, p , Notes: [ ], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Kodate, N. and Timonen, V., Bringing the family in through the back door: The stealthy expansion of family care in Asian and European long-term care policy, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 32, 2017, p291 - 301, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Sao Jose, J., Timonen, V., Amado, C. and Santos, S., A critique of the active ageing index, Journal of Aging Studies, 40, 2017, p49 - 56, Journal Article, 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, 2017, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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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
Nolan, Anne, Brendan Whelan, Hilary Cronin, Jane Grimson, Yumiko Kamiya, Rose Anne Kenny, Amilcar Moreira, Claire O'Regan and Virpi Timonen, The Development of a Draft Framework for the Collection of Information About the Older Population., Dublin, National Council on Ageing and Older People, 2006, 110 pages, Report, PRESENTED
Timonen V M, Ireland in low-spending, high-poverty EU club, Poverty Today, 8, 2005, Journal Article, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Fellow of Trinity College Dublin Elected May 2009
My research focuses on the sociology of ageing and social policies as they are unfolding in ageing societies. I am interested in the life course from youth to old age, especially in the context of intergenerational relations within families and societies. I have extensive experience of working in inter-disciplinary contexts; examples include a project trained at mapping out optimal care for people with motor neurone disease, and collaboration with IT specialists in developing a platform for improved long-term care services for older adults. I have authored around 100 publications. The leading journals I have published in include Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, Ageing & Society, Family Relations, Qualitative Health Research, Journal of Aging Studies, Social Politics, Research on Aging, Health and Social Care in the Community, the Journal of Family Issues, the Journal of Social Policy, Qualitative Research and the European Journal of Ageing, among other important journals; I have authored or co-authored five books including a major introductory textbook titled Ageing Societies: A Comparative Introduction (Open University Press, 2008); co-edited (with Prof. Sara Arber) the first book on grandparenting in global contexts (Policy Press, 2012; and edited a sequel to this book, by the publisher's invitation (Grandparenting practices around the world, 2018). Examples of international collaboration include participation in a Horizon 2020 project on co-creation (see project website, an EU framework project on welfare reform and societal change in seven EU countries (WRAMSOC) and pan-European research networks focusing on migrant labour in the elder care sector (MILES)and on home care policies for older people (LIVINDHOME). I have supervised 11 PhDs to successful completion and currently supervise four PhD students. I am open to supervising postgraduate research students who wish to conduct qualitative, theory-oriented research. Most of my work has been on ageing and older adults, but I can supervise qualitative PhDs pertaining to any part of the lifecourse, especially in the context of intergenerational family relationships.