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Kelly currently supervises PhD students in a number of areas of social policy. She has particular expertise in the areas of social care, social enterprise, the third sector, international retirement migration, ageing and participatory research.


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Personal profile

Research interests

Kelly’s research focuses on adult social care. She has a particular interest in researching the role of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in the social care sector, as well as international retirement migration.

Her research on social care in England has centred on care markets, social enterprises, micro enterprises and social innovation. Her current work is exploring the contribution of social enterprises to the social care sector ( She currently holds a NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR) Research Leaders Award.

Her research on international retirement migration focuses on the migration and return of vulnerable, older British people within the EU and more recently the impact of Brexit. Over the last few years, she has undertaken a number of studies in collaboration with Age UK, Age Concern España and the British Consulates to explore the lived experiences of older British people in Spain, including access to and experiences of care. She has set-up the charitable association and website in collaboration with the British Consulates, Spain.

She draws on participatory approaches in her social care research and is currently co-leading a project (with Birmingham Voluntary Services Council) designed to build research capacity in voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in Birmingham. The project is designed to build knowledge of participatory research in social care, facilitate stronger connections between social care researchers and VCSEs and deliver training and mentoring to researchers and VCSEs on participatory methodologies.  

Her research has been published in academic books and journals, including Ageing and Society and Public Management Review. She has also published a number of policy briefs and animations.


Kelly joined the Department in August 2013 as a Lecturer in Social Policy. She had previously worked as Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Northampton, before which she worked as a Research Fellow for the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham.

Kelly is currently the Director of Global Engagement for the School of Social Policy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Retirement Migration, 'The Other Story': The Lived Experiences of Vulnerable, Older British Migrants in Spain, Nottingham Trent University

Award Date: 18 Jan 2011


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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