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Dr Katie Brittain

Associate Professor of Ageing & Health

Department: Nursing, Midwifery & Health

Katie -Brittain ,-Northumbria -University -web

Katie is Associate Professor of Ageing & Health in the Department of Nursing, Midwifery & Health.  Katie is a Social Gerontologist and has an educational background in Sociology.  This has enabled her to pursue her research interests in the social impact that illness can have on the lives of older people. Before joining Northumbria University Katie worked at Newcastle University for sixteen years.  During her time as a researcher she has researched and published widely around the impact of ill health on older people and carers. More recently her work has focused around how aspects of the physical, social and technological environment pose challenges and opportunities for older people and their wider community.

Key areas of expertise:

  • Social Gerontology
  • Assistive Technologies & Ageing
  • Dementia
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Evaluation

Campus Address

Room B128 Coach Lane Campus West
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

+44 (0)191 215 6338


PhD, MA, BSc (Hons)

Professional Activity

Deputy Programme Lead for ‘Healthy Ageing’ research in FUSE (

University Lead and Pathway Director for the “Health, Wellbeing and Society’ pathway in the ESRC Doctoral Training in Social Sciences in the North East and Northern Ireland (NINE DTP)

Current/Recent Projects

Connected Health Cities, Northern Health Services Alliance:  End of Life Care Pathway.  Principal Investigator, with Professor Catherine Exley, Dr Monique Lhussier, Dr Peter McMeekin.  June 2017-December 2018.

NIHR (HS&DR): Innovation to enhance health in care homes, rapid evidence synthesis.  Led by Professor Barbara Hanratty (Co-Investigator).  March 2016-Feb 2017.

EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC): Led by Professor Patrick Olivier. 2015-2020 (Co-Investigator). 

Stroke Association:  Wrist-worn Accelerometers with Vibrating-alerts to prompt Exercise after Stroke (WAVES).  Led by Dr Christopher Price (Co-Investigator). 

EPSRC (cross council ageing research funding):  MyPLACE ‘Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment’.  Led by Professor Pete Wright.  March 2014-Feb 2017

ESRC:  Standing up for Dementia: exchanging knowledge on developing a patient and professional pathway for physical activity and exercise.  Led by Professor Mike Trennel.  May 2013-April 2014

NIHR RfPB:  FIDELITY: Feasibility of Internet DELivery of Intensive TherapY for children with motor speech disorders and cerebral palsy.  Led by Dr Lindsay Pennington.  July 2014

Health Innovation Challenge Fund (Department of Health & Wellcome Trust):  Limbs Alive: Monitoring Stroke Rehabilitation.  Led by Professor Janet Eyre.  January 2012-December 2014

MRC (Lifelong Health & Wellbeing):  Ageing Creatively. Led by Professor Eric Cross.  December 2012-June 2014

Technology Strategy Board (TSB):  SALT 'Sustainable Assisted Living Technologies and Services'.  Led by Professor Feng Li (PI).  June 2011-May 2014

EPSRC Discipline Hop:  'Ageing in Place' and the impact of emerging technologies on the lives of older people.  Dr Katie Brittain (PI).  September 2011-August 2012

Technology Strategy Board (TSB): SHel: Safe Home Living, the use and acceptability of remote monitoring systems for older people living alone. Dr Katie Brittain (PI) and Professor Patrick Olivier. March 2010-February 2011

NIHR HTA: CARE-DEM trial (a pragmatic randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Collaborative cARE for people with DEMentia in primary care. Led by Professor Robinson (Newcastle University) & Professor Iliffe (University College London). 2010-2015

NIHR programme grant: ICONS Identifying Continence OptioNs after Stroke. Led by Professor Watkins, University of Central Lancashire. 2008-2011


Key Publications

Gibson, G., Dickinson, C., Brittain, K., Robinson, AL. Technology use and bricolage. Ageing and Society (in press).

Stocker, R., Bamford, C., Brittain, K., Duncan, R., Moffatt, S., Robinson, L., & Hanratty, B. (2018). Care home services at the vanguard: a qualitative study exploring stakeholder views on the development and evaluation of novel, integrated approaches to enhancing health care in care homes. BMJ Open, 8(3), p.e017419

Lavrencic LM, Richardson C, Harrison SL, Muniz-Terrera G, Keage H, Brittain K, Kirkwood T, Jagger C, Robinson AL. Stephan BCM.Is there a link between brain cognitive reserve and cognitive function in the ninth decade of life?  Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (in press).

Morrissey K, Garbett A, Wright PC, Olivier P, Jenkins E, Brittain KR.  Care and Connect: exploring dementia-friendliness through an online community commissioning platform. In: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2017, 6 – 1 May 2017, Denver, USA.

Brittain K, Degnen C, Gibson G, Dickinson C, Robinson AL. When walking becomes wandering: representing the fear of the fourth age. Sociology of Health and Illness 2017. 1;39(2):270-84.

Newton L, C Dickinson, G Gibson, K Brittain, AL Robinson. Exploring the views of GPs, people with dementia and their carers on assistive technology: a qualitative study. BMJ Open 2016, 6(5), e011132.

Gibson G, Newton L, Pritchard G, Finch T, Brittain K, Robinson L. The provision of assistive technology products and services for people with dementia in the United Kingdom. Dementia 2016, 15(4), 681-701.

Pritchard GW, Brittain K. Alarm pendants and the technological shaping of older people's care: Between (intentional) help and (irrational) nuisance. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 2015, 93, 124-132.

Vines J, Pritchard G, Wright PC, Olivier P, Brittain K. An Age-Old Problem: Examining the Discourses of Ageing in HCI and Strategies for Future Research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) 2015, 22(1), 2.

Brittain KR, Kingston A, Davies K, Collerton J, Robinson AL, Kirkwood T, Bond J, Jagger C. An investigation into the patterns of loneliness and loss in the oldest old – Newcastle 85+ Study. Ageing and Society 2015.

Lie M, Lindsay S, Brittain K. Technology and trust: older people's perspectives of a home monitoring system. Ageing and Society 2015, 36(07), 1501-1525.

Gibson G, Dickinson C, Brittain K, Robinson L. The everyday use of assistive technology by people with dementia and their family carers: a qualitative study. BMC Geriatrics 2015, 15, 89.

For a full list please view

PGR Supervision

Katie is an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner.  She has successfully supervised nine Doctoral students in the broad research areas of living with dementia and Parkinson's disease and the impact on carers, assistive technologies in supporting older people and ageing and place attachment.  She is currently co-supervising six others in the broad research areas of dementia care, Parkinson's Disease, Stroke, technologies and the built environment.


Current postgraduate supervision:

Mr Peter Kruithof, PhD, ‘The trajectory of Alcohol related brain damage patients in the North East of England’.

Ms Palladino, ‘Place Identity and Place Attachment among older Italian migrants in Newcastle upon Tyne’.

Ms Dutton ‘Designing product and service design-concepts, which will enable people with memory problems to live physically active lifestyles’.


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