Professor Heather Wilkinson

Director of E-CRED


My key areas of work focus on improving the care of older people. This aim has underpinned my research career since 1996 and my work focuses on developing better understandings of methodological and personal perspectives of people with dementia and for people with learning disabilities and dementia. My research has both demographic and policy imperatives at international levels i.e. population of people with dementia and people with learning disability are increasing as are their age related health and service needs. The work also intersects across the fields of gerontology, health, nursing, sociology, practice development and social policy with strong knowledge exchange and practice development components.<strong> </strong>Much of my work has been methodologically innovative to ensure that the research participants with dementia and/or learning disability (previously totally excluded) are included in research and dissemination. Several of the projects have had a direct influence on policy and practice (the work for the Scottish Government on the Adults with Incapacity legislation and the night time care project in particular). More recently I have linked my work into a stronger awareness of knowledge exchange and public engagement including at an international level with my partnerships in India and Taiwan. Ensuring strong impact and effective knowledge exchange is a key element of my approach leading to much of my work being translated into policy and legislation, and made accessible to practitioner audiences. My work has contributed to service development in Scotland and I was co-founder of the Scottish Dementia Working Group, which celebrated its 10th birthday this year with a reception at the Scottish National Gallery hosted by the Scottish Government. My work also relates strongly to the increased focus on knowledge exchange and impact. I was PI on one of the five ESRC projects within the ESRC/SFC/LARCHI programme on knowledge exchange and Local Authorities and this project has led to 2 ESRC Follow on Fund awards. The successes in these areas of work have allowed me to develop case studies around impact grounded in theories of knowledge exchange. All my work has been brought together in the development and launch in 2012 of the MSc in Dementia: International Experiences, Policy and Practice. <a href=""></a>, of which I am Programme Director.  


  • PhD, Lancaster University, 1997. (ESRC studentship 1994-1997)
  • PCGE, Didsbury, Manchester, 1991
  • BA (Hons) Geography, Northumbria University, 1984 - 1987  

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