Skip to main content


Loading content
Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer

Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer

Senior Lecturer (Ageing & Family Care)



I lead 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. 

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

My 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.

I teach on the Medical Sciences Programme, where I am Pathway Lead for Health Research and lead undergraduate modules on research methods and ethics. 

I tweet at @Siobhan_ODwyer. I am indebted to the Yuggera and Ngunnawal people, on whose land I 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)


2008 - 2010
Senior Research Officer, National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre (Australia)

2010 - 2015
Research Fellow, Griffith University (Australia)

2016 - current
Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter



Research interests

  • Unpaid carers, family carers, caregivers
  • Suicide, homicide, and self-harm
  • Ageing
  • Dementia
  • Social media
  • Academic career development

Research projects


  • Homicides and homicide-suicides perpetrated by family carers in the UK: Identifying and classifying cases to inform better social care. O'Dwyer, Slater, Melendez-Torres, Bishop, Gimson, Stevens. (Devon Partnership Trust, 2021)
  • End Scene: Using devised theatre to foster understanding and action on suicide and homicide in parents caring for children with disabilities. O'Dwyer & Exeter Phoenix. (ESRC Impact Accelerator, 2022)




Recently Completed

  • University of Exeter Arts and Culture Fellowship. McKenzie & O'Dwyer. (University of Exeter, 2019)
  • SHuSH! A research network on Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm in parent carers. O'Dwyer, Janssens, Maras, Stallard, Slater, Mars, Biddle, Moran & Hastings. (GW4, 2019)
  • Care, the great human tradition: A multi-disciplinary collaborative exploration of family care across time and culture. McKenzie, O'Dwyer & Danely. (Wellcome Trust, 2018)




Pathway Lead for Health Research in the Medical Sciences Programme. Module Lead for CSC2007 (Introduction to Health Research) and CSC2017 (Ethical Issues in Health Research). Dissertation supervisor for CSC4028 & CSC4029 (Final Year Research Project).




Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Anna Sansom (Research Fellow)
  • Hazel Banks (Professional Training Year Student)

Postgraduate researchers

  • Anastasiia Kovalenko
  • Jason Weetch

Back | Edit Profile