Personal profile

Research interests

My research explores the intersections between ageing and place, addressing how we can target inequities in ageing outcomes for vulnerable and marginalised groups. I work across a range of scales including the street, neighbourhood, and city to examine place-based supports for active and healthy ageing. Much of my research has been transnational in nature, working with academics, practitioners, policy-makers and community groups across the developed and developing world. I utilise participatory approaches in all my research, working with participants as co-researchers and undertaking community mapping, deliberative dialogue, and visual methods to support understandings of ageing in the right place. 



I am a Professor in Ageing and Urban Studies and Director of the Institute for Place, Environment and Society. I joined Heriot-Watt University in 2014 as an Associate Professor in Health and Well-being and was previously Director of the Urban Institute. Prior to this, I worked at the Gerontology Research Centre, Vancouver, Canada exploring issues of social justice, housing and ageing-in-place. 

I am currently P-I on a £1.2 million AHRC project exploring asset based approaches to addressing the health and wellbeing of Roma populations in mid to later life. 

I have a track record of working on UKRI funded grants including as P-I on grants exploring the impacts of climate change on healthy ageing and ESRC-funded projects exploring how we can design Age Friendly Cities and Communities across urban, social and cultural contexts, undertaking collaborative case study research in cities in UK, Brazil and India. 



Roles & Responsibilities

Ryan is Director of the Institute for Place, Environment and Society

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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