Patty Doran


Personal profile


I am a Research Associate in the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group, affiliated with the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI) and the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA). I currently work on the Ageing in Place project led by Tine Buffel. My research interests centre on healthy ageing, spatial justice, community support and the life course, and using mixed methods to address complex research questions. I am particularly interested in centring lived experiences in research and using co-production methods to work with communities to amplify their voices.  

Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, I graduated from the University of Otago with a BA majoring in both Māori Studies and Community & Family Studies in 2000. I then moved to Australia and worked for the Australian Government for several years before moving to Manchester. At Manchester City Council I was based in the library service and worked as a community-based project manager. While working for the Council I was supported by Macmillan Cancer Support to complete a MSc in Social Change. Following my MSc, I was awarded a Research Impact Scholarship from the University of Manchester to complete a PhD in Social Change, I graduated in 2018. 

Since then I have worked on several research projects, mainly focused on ageing and the life course, and delivered training and support services through the UK Data Service. Further detail is below.

Research interests

Current project:

Ageing in Place in Cities

I have been a Research Associate on the Ageing in Place project since March 2021. The research programme (2021-2026) will generate groundbreaking knowledge on population ageing and urbanisation – two of the most significant social trends of the 21st century. The research is theoretically and methodologically innovative, drawing upon an interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach that involves collaborations with seven contrasting cities across the world: Akita (Japan), Bilbao (Spain), Brno (Czech Republic), Brussels (Belgium), Manchester (the UK), Oslo (Norway) and Quebec (Canada).


Past projects:

UK Data Service

I worked with the as part of the User Support and Training team from 2019 - 2021. My main role was to support access to social survey microdata and census datasets. I developed and delivered a programme of online training and supported indivdual ressearchers through the helpdesk. I carried out user experience work to capture the experiences of the UK Data Service users. As part of my role I led on supporting the Third Sector to access social data.


Growing Up Healthy in Families Across the Globe - Te Ao Whanau

Children develop best when raised in functioning and supportive families. This project was based on a strong international research collaboration that brought together five of the most important studies (in terms of child development) with relevance to Aotearoa/NZ. The Pacific Islands Family Study, Te Hoe Nuku Roa (Maori Families Longitudinal Study) and the triad of Growing Up studies (NZ, Ireland and Scotland) provided detailed data with high analytical potential for Maori, Pasifika and NZ European, but also with strong European comparators from very similar countries (Ireland/Scotland).

The project was designed to draw on the experience and competence of the UK/EU collaborators to improve the scientific longitudinal analysis of the NZ studies. The jurisdictions and settings in Ireland and Scotland are relevant and similar to NZ in terms of population size, government, health and education systems, dual languages, and inequalities. The insights will be of interest to all those concerned with child development in contemporary Aotearoa/NZ.


Urban Villages

The Village model is an innovative response to ageing populations with complex health and social care needs. In the US, where the Village model has been most extensively developed, older residents have worked together to form membership-based groups to address a variety of age-related needs (Scharlach, Graham, & Lehning, 2012). The Manchester-based research project – Urban Villages – has tested the potential of the Village model, using participatory approaches working with groups of older people in two inner-city environments in Manchester, both with significant levels of economic deprivation. Residents were supported to develop and test in total seven projects, all aimed at reducing social isolation and supporting ageing in place.

The project adopted a participatory approach to enable older local citizens to have greater voice in shaping services that are important to their health and well-being (Buffel et al., 2014). More specifically, the research aimed to involve marginalised individuals and groups in the co-design, leadership and implementation of projects to better support the goal of ageing in place. In addition to extensive ethnographic observations in the two communities, focus groups and interviews have been conducted with residents and stakeholders, exploring the potential for further developing Village-type projects in low-income neighbourhoods

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Areas of expertise

  • HA Statistics
  • HM Sociology
  • HT Communities. Classes. Races

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute
  • Healthier Futures
  • Global inequalities
  • Cancer


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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