Penny Bee

Penny Bee, PhD, BSc(Hons), GIBiol


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Penny is a Professor of Applied Mental Health Research, and Director of Research and Innovation for the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work. She contributes to CPD and postgraduate (Masters & PhD) learning, with a focus on research methods. She is the Deputy Theme Lead for Mental Health in the NIHR ARC Greater Manchester. She is a member of the Division's Mental Health Research Group, where her main research interests lie in the development and evaluation of innovative models of mental health service delivery. 


Penny graduated from Loughborough University in 1997 with a first class honours degree in Human Biology. She was awarded a Loughborough University Doctoral scholarship and in 2001 completed her PhD in reproductive psychology. In 2002, Penny moved to the University of Manchester to take up her first research post in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. Since this time, she has been invovled in a wealth of applied health research relevant to government policy. Her key research areas include patient and family experience, global mental health and the development and evaluation of innovative models of mental health service delivery, particularly telephone and remote CBT.

Penny has substantial experience in externally funded and commissioned systematic reviews, including   interventions for children of parents with serious mental illness and children and young people with long term conditions. She is Co-Chief Investigator on a NIHR PGfAR improving the quality of telephone-delivered psychological therapies in primary care, and Co-Director of a Global Health Research Group establishing sustainable care for depression and anxiety in Indonesia. She is a co-applicant on the NIHR Rapid Evalution Team REVAL and works on a number of feasibility and definitive trials evaluating community-based mental health interventions.

Penny is  involved in the co-supervision of postdoctoral students. Current projects include an cross-cultural exploration of help seeking for anxiety in older adults (Ms Rasha Akholy), the role of social support for psychological wellbeing in higher eduation students (Ms Emily Vicary) and predictors of engagement in between-session work in low intensity psychological therapies (Ms Mia Bennion). 

Research interests

Penny’s research interests focus on understanding concepts of health and healthcare provision from the service user and carer perspective. Most of this work is conducted within the context of mental health. She has particular interests in user experiences, user and carer satisfaction and support needs and in identifying and overcoming barriers to care. Penny has conducted several studies evaluating the implementation of more accessible ways of delivering mental health services.


Penny makes a major contribution to teaching and learning within the School of Nursing at both post-graduate and undergraduate levels. Core units and topics include evidence based mental health practice, Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement, critical appraisal & evidence synthesis, foundations of research and applied health services research.

My collaborations

  • Professor Karina Lovell
  • Professor Harriet Gross
  • Professor Peter Bower
  • Professor Simon GIlbody
  • Professor Dean McMillan
  • Professor Jo Dumville
  • Mr Paul Wilson
  • Dr Helen Brooks
  • Professor Sarah Byford
  • Professor Rachel Calam
  • Professor Kathryn Abel

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • NIHR PGfAR Funding Panel member 2022-
  • MRC Global Health Funding Panel member 2022-
  • Institute of Biology
  • International Prato Consortium for Families with Mental Illness
  • Consultant for the Tavistock Centre for Realtionship Counselling

Methodological knowledge

  • Systematic reviews
  • Complex interventions
  • Trials
  • Questionnaire & survey design
  • Qualitative Acceptibility studies
  • Mixed methods in health services research


PhD, BSc (1st Class)

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 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

External Examiner, University College London (UCL)

1 Sept 2015 → …

Areas of expertise

  • RT Nursing
  • Mental health

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Healthier Futures


  • Psychological therapies, Mental Health, Systematic reviews, RCTs, Qualitative, Patient Experience


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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