Rebecca Hawkins

Rebecca Hawkins


I am Lecturer in Qualitative in Health Research at Leeds Institute of Health Sciences. My disciplinary background is in Anthropology, and my main area of methodological expertise is in qualitative research, particularly ethnnography. My research interests include ageing, health inequalities, frailty, caring, and applied health and social care research.

My current portfolio includes research on frailty, health inequalities, resourcefulness in later life, personalised care planning, care home research, and longer-term support for stroke survivors. I am  the interim lead for the Postgraduate Programmes in Health Research.

I have peer-reviewed research applications for Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), National Institute for Health Research (UK). I am a reviewer for Sociology of Health and Illness; Age and Ageing; Ageing and Society; and the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

I am a member of the British Sociological Association and the Royal Anthropological Institute.


  • Interim lead of Postgraduate Programmes in Health Research
  • LIHS Rep on SoM Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Committee (IDEC)

Research interests

  • Clegg A (theme lead), Birks Y, Bojke C, Farrin A, Forster A, Hawkins R, Hawley M, Mountain G, Rodriguez M P, Joanne Reeve J , Richards S, Spilsbury K, Teale E, West R, Wilberforce M. Older People with Frailty theme of the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration, 2019-2024. Website:
  • Clegg A, Young J, Bower P, Cundill B, Farrin A, Foster M, Foy R, Hartley S, Hawkins R, Hulme C, Humphrey S, Pendleton N, Teale E, West R, Holmes J. Personalised care planning to improve quality of life for older people with Frailty. NIHR, Programme Grants for Applied Research £2,754,006; 2017-2022. Website:
  • Forster A, Graham E, Farrin A, Hulme, C, Fisher J, Hull K, Hawkins R. Skilful Care Training Package for residents in care homes: cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial. Physiotherapy Research Foundation, £300,340.55, 2016-2019 Website:
  • Forster A, Young J, Hewison J, House A, Hulme C, Hawkins R, Dickerson J, Richardson G, Bhakta B, Hartley S, Speed M, McKevitt C, Farrin A, Fay M, McEachan R, Foy R. Development and evaluation of strategies to provide longer-term health and social care for stroke survivors and their carers. NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Health Research. £1,673,049. (Ref:RP-PG-0611-10017), 2013-2018. Website:
  • Young J, Clegg A, Nolan M, Mountain G, Teale E, Spilsbury K, Hanratty B, Noble B, Parry J Bates C, Hawkins R, Astell A, Young T. Avoiding Attendance and Admission in Long Term Conditions. Theme: Primary Care-Based Management of Frailty in Older People. NIHR CLAHRC. £999,868, 2014 - 2018. 
  • Hawkins R, Forster A. Exploratory study investigating older people’s social relationships within residential care settings, with a particular focus on social isolation and loneliness. NIHR CLAHRC for Leeds, York and Bradford Challenge Fund £33,905, 2013
  • Forster A, Hawkins R. Exploratory study investigating the support networks of stroke survivors and their carers following stroke. NIHR CLAHRC for Leeds, York and Bradford Challenge Fund £2.


  • PhD: Caring the Policies and Practices of Care in a Residential Home, University of Cambridge, 2008
  • BA (Hons) Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2003

Student education

Interim lead of Postgraduate Programmes in Health Research.

I  welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD students undertaking research in the following areas: Qualitative methods; health inequalities; ageing; frailty; loneliness and social isolation; care home research.

PhD students

Catherine Malia: What makes an effective model of palliative care for people experiencing homelessness? University of Leeds.

Shabana Shafiq: What are the barriers and facilitators to accessing support services for South Asian families where a person is living with frailty. University of Bradford. 

Laura McLarty: Understanding inequalities in accessing antenatal services – a realist evaluation of take up of community-based antenatal programmes. University of Leeds.

Sarah Batt: An in-depth inquiry into how stroke patients are supported with eating and drinking in stroke units. University of Leeds. Completed 2022. 

Sarah K Smith: Exploring how touch-screen technology may facilitate meaningful activities in leisure time for people living with dementia in the community (Rebecca supervised with Professor Gail Mountain at the University of Sheffield & Dr Brenda Gannon at the University of Manchester. Sarah's PhD was funded by the White Rose ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Network). Completed 2015.

Lynn Morra Philipp: Culture, healing practice pluralism and living with inflammatory bowel disease. Completed 2012.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Frailty and elderly care
  • Successful ageing
  • Complex interventions
  • Academic Unit for Ageing and Stroke Research
  • Psychological and Social Medicine
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>