Siobhan O'Dwyer



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Research interests

Dr O'Dwyer leads research on suicide, homicide, and self-harm in unpaid carers (known outside the UK as family carers or caregivers). This research seeks to understand how many carers harm themselves; how many carers consider ending their own life and/or the life of the person for whom they care; and, how many carers act on those thoughts. It also seeks to understand the factors that put carers at risk and the best ways to support carers who are self-harming or contemplating suicide or homicide. 

Dr O'Dwyer also collaborates on research about other aspects of caring, as well as dementia, ageing, and social media.  All of her research is conducted in partnership with carers, patients, clinicians, and community organisations, and it is underpinned by her personal commitment to doing research on care in a way that is itself caring.

Dr O'Dwyer's research has received international media coverage and led to changes in practice and policy in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands. It has also inspired creative works by Australian playwright Emma Workman and British artist Leo Jamelli. Workman's play Yielding was shortlisted for Best New Australian Work in 2019 and has been produced by theatres in Brisbane and Sydney. Jamelli's artworks The Invisible Carer and Spotlight on Care have appeared on prominent buildings in Exeter and London. Spotlight on Care was also shortlisted for the Derwent Art Prize in 2022, one of just 72 artworks selected from 6000 entries worldwide, and exhibited at galleries in London and Paris.


Dr O'Dwyer joined the University of Birmingham in 2022 as Associate Professor of Social Care. Prior to that she was Senior Lecturer in Ageing and Family Care at the University of Exeter (2016-2022) and a Research Fellow at Griffith University (2010-2015). She has also worked in the third sector, leading applied research and policy development. 

Dr O'Dwyer tweets at @Siobhan_ODwyer and is indebted to the Yuggera and Ngunnawal people, on whose land she lived and worked before moving to the UK. 


Bachelor of Arts (Psychology; 2003)

Doctor of Philosophy (Human Movement Studies; 2009)

Graduate Certificate in Education (Higher Education; 2010)

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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