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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. Since her PhD was awarded in 2001, Professor Timonen has published over 125 research outputs on intergenerational relations, ageing, care, and research methods, including three sole-authored and one co-authored book, two edited volumes, 25+ book chapters and 65+ journal articles. Approximately 70% of her journal articles have been published in Q1 journals, and a further 20% in Q2 (Scopus SJR). Professor Timonen's research has 5,250+ citations (Google Scholar) and her H-index is 40 +. Her journal articles span journals from many disciplines, indicative of the intellectual scope of her work - including, e.g. Gender & Society (Q1 - Scopus), Ageing & Society (Q1), Family Relations (Q1), Qualitative Health Research (Q1), Journal of Aging Studies (Q1), Social Politics (Q1), Technological Forecasting and Social Change (Q1), Research on Aging (Q1), Social Science & Medicine (Q1), Health and Social Care in the Community (Q1), Journal of Family Issues (Q1), Journal of Social Policy (Q1), Qualitative Research (Q1), European Journal of Ageing (Q1), International Journal of Qualitative Methods (Q1), British Journal of Sports Medicine (Q1), Health Services Research (Q1), among many others. Professor Timonen has had leading research and advisory roles in over 18 major research initiatives, including over 12 research grants which have involved gaining and personally managing over € 3 million in research funding, as well as direct collaboration in projects in excess of € 20 million. As Founding Director of the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre, Director of Research and Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning in her School, as Course Director for the four-year BA in Sociology and Social Policy, and as non-executive director in the largest teaching hospital in Ireland, a significant amount of Professor Timonen's time has been devoted to management and leadership duties. She also has a track-record of involvement in numerous cross-Faculty initiatives in Trinity, including the Ageing Consortium, the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the Ageing and Inclusive Society research themes. 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 16 PhDs to successful completion, and mentored and supervised 10 post-doctoral researchers in her own research teams and in close collaborations. Professor Timonen has taught diverse courses in Social Policy and Sociology (foundation and advanced level); these include Comparative Welfare States (3rd year undergraduate); New Risks and Welfare States (3rd year UG); The Life Course and Evolving Welfare States (2nd/3rd year UG); Introduction to Social Policy (first year undergraduate); and Ageing Societies (final year undergraduate), in each case having designed and taken responsibility for full module delivery. At postgraduate level, she has delivered research methods teaching, including a full module of instructing at postgraduate diploma level, and original course content on the Grounded Theory method (the latter having also been presented as guest lectures at the University of Helsinki).
  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
 Grandparent childcare: negotiating work and care across generations
 Theories of Ageing and Approaches to Welfare in Ireland, North and South
 Grandparents' role in divorced and separated families in Ireland
 MILES (Migrant Labour in the Elder Care Sector)
 The role and future development of the meals-on-wheels service in Ireland

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Details Date
Course Director, BA in Sociology and Social Policy 2020-
International Editorial Adviser (Editorial Board); Ageing & Society, Cambridge University Press 2018-2020
Guest Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Tampere University (Finland) April 2017
Adjunct, Community Wellbeing Research Centre, Social Science Korea project, funded by National Research Foundation of Korea 2019-
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-
Programme Coordinator, Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC11), International Sociological Association, World Forum (Vienna) 2016
Executive Committee member, Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing ( 2005 - 2013
Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (TrinityINC) School Champion 2021-
Co-Chairperson, Research Committee on Sociology of Ageing (RC11), International Sociological Association (ISA) conference, Yokohama, Japan. 2013 - 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 2006 - 2008
Board Member, European Social Policy Association (ESPAnet) 2007 -
Officer-at-large, Research Committee on Ageing, International Sociological Association July 2006 -
Course Director, MSc Social Policy and Practice and MSc Child Protection and Welfare 2018 - 2020
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
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) 2004 - 2008
President, Research Committee on the Sociology of Ageing (RC 11) of the International Sociological Association 2014-2018
Member of the Athena Swan committee, School of Social Work and Social Policy 2021-
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 -
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)
Policies for active ageing and their family-related assumptions and consequences in, editor(s)M. Daly, N. Gilbert, B. Pfau-Effinger and D. Besharov , International handbook of family policy: A life course perspective, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2022, [Hamilton, M., Timonen, V., Craig, L. and Adamson, E.], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED  TARA - Full Text
Digitalisation of public services as a challenge to social justice in, editor(s)Yerkes, M. and Bal, M. , Solidarity and social justice in contemporary societies: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding inequalities, Bristol and Chicago, Palgrave McMillan, 2022, pp191 - 200, [Lolich, L. and Timonen, V. ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
The ageing entrepreneur: Co-opting older adults into the siliconization of care' in, editor(s)Hirvonen, H., Tammelin, M., Hanninen, R. and Wouters, E. , Digital transformations in care of older people: Critical perspectives, London & New York, Routledge, 2022, pp35 - 53, [Lolich, L. and Timonen, V. ], Book Chapter, SUBMITTED
Technology for care and living: Making sense of care technologies through a critical perspective in, editor(s)C. Ranci and T. Rostgaard , Research handbook of social care policy, Cheltenham (UK) & Northampton (MA, US), Edward Elgar , 2022, [Lolich, L. and Timonen, V. ], Book Chapter, SUBMITTED
Theurer, K. A., Stone, R. I., Suto, M. J., Timonen, V., Brown, S. G., & Mortenson, W. B. , "It makes you feel good to help!": An exploratory study of the experience of peer mentoring in long-term care. , Canadian Journal on Aging, 2022, Notes: [doi: 10.1017/S0714980821000611], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Casey, M.B. et al., "There's definitely something wrong but we just don't know what it is": A qualitative study exploring rowers' understanding of low back pain  , Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2022, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Lolich, L., Pirhonen, J., Turja, T. and Timonen, V., Technology in the home care of older people: Views from Finland and Ireland, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 2022, Notes: [], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Foley G, Timonen V, Conlon C, Elliott O'Dare C., Interviewing as a vehicle for theoretical sampling in grounded theory, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, 2021, p1 - 10, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Timonen, V., Greene, J. and Émon, A., 'We're meant to be crossing over but the bridge is broken': 2020 university graduates' experiences of the pandemic in Ireland, YOUNG: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Wang, Qi and Timonen, Virpi, Retirement pathways and pensions inequality in China: A grounded theory study, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 2021, Notes: [DOI:10.1108/IJSSP-09-2020-0454], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text

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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
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


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Award Date
António Dornelas Prize - Honorable Mention awarded by by the Ministério do Trabalho, Solidariedade e Segurança Social (Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security) of Portugal for work with colleagues São José, Amado and Santos 2020
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
Rose Dobrof Award (for the most outstanding article) from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW), United States 2019
Collaborator, Centre of Excellence for Care and Ageing, funded by the Academy of Finland 2018 -
Docent (Adjunct Professor), University of Jyväskylä, Finland, from November 2012- (lifelong appointment) Since 2012
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
Fellow of Trinity College Dublin Elected May 2009
Visiting Research Fellow, National Europe Centre, Australian National University, Canberra April - August 2007
Professor Timonen's work has transformed understandings of ageing societies across several inter-connected topics of research and made original contributions to both theory and research methods. 1.) Her original 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. 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. These include, for instance, the incentivisation of family care inputs, opening of opportunities for private sector operators, and greater expectations of independence and agency on the part of older adults. She has also co-authored an extensive body of work on the ways in which technology and care interact and the reasons why technological innovations fail to meet the needs of some older adults. 2.) Professor Timonen's investigations of family-level practices between different generations have provided transformative insights into how older adults contribute to the maintenance of family solidarity but also make choices that break with established roles. She has illuminated the agentic behaviour of older women in 'undoing gender' through orientation to third-age activities and away from expectations of care, and how such choices are shaped by women's socioeconomic positions. Her original 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 highly dependent on practices of solidarity at family and community level. 3.) Professor Timonen's work has demonstrated the centrality of social positionalities to both individual and societal level patterns in ageing societies. 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. Her work on migrant care workers demonstrates the continued reliance on globally mobile women who are socially constructed as 'suited' to care work that underpins social care regimes in the western world yet remains precarious and undervalued. 4.) Professor Timonen has generated novel theory on how older adults and 'successful' ageing are socially constructed and operationalised 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. Her Model Ageing theory amounts to a transformational critique of paradigms that currently dominate policy making for older adults. 5.) Professor Timonen is a research methodologist who is making Grounded Theory more accessible and usable among a wide range of researchers across substantive fields of research. Her translation of different strands within the Grounded Theory method into a unified re-interpretation has drawn out their underlying commonalities. In totality, these contributions demonstrate transformative inter-linking of substantive research domains, intrepid theorising, and original contributions to research methodology.