Kelly Birtwell, PhD Primary Care Research

Kelly Birtwell won 'Best Contribution to PGR Environment 2019/20' at the Manchester Doctoral College Excellence Awards.

Kelly created and delivered mindfulness workshops and a complementary online resource to support the wellbeing of postgraduate researchers.

“I am a trained mindfulness teacher and I was initially approached by my peers who wanted to learn more about mindfulness to support their wellbeing. I ran some informal sessions within my department and, as there seemed to be a need for this work, I spoke to the Learning Development team and developed formal sessions and online resources.

“I have enjoyed studying a subject I am passionate about and learning from experts, as well as travelling around the world on training and to present at conferences. I have been fortunate to travel to Canada and the Netherlands where I have met leading experts in my field as well as other PhD students researching similar topics.”

“It has been fantastic to become part of an international community exploring mindfulness and how it can help people with diverse conditions and needs.”

Kelly Birtwell / PhD Primary Care Research

“Postgraduate research wellbeing is always important, and never more so than now", says Professor Peter Bower, Head of Department, School of Health Sciences. "Kelly Birtwell has taken her PhD studies on mindfulness and developed practical courses for fellow students to help them through their programme. This combination of high-quality research and practical local impact is a wonderful example of what a University of Manchester PhD can achieve.” 

“In addition to teaching mindfulness courses and workshops at the University, as well as in the NHS and for charities, I have delivered lectures about mindfulness in the workplace for MSc programmes", says Kelly.

"I also took part in a one-year pan-Canadian interdisciplinary research capacity building programme for Primary Health Care, which aims to develop future research leaders and equip them with the interdisciplinary research skills required to address complex, real-world problems.

“At the moment I am analysing data from my final PhD study and working on my thesis. I hope to carry on researching mindfulness beyond my PhD so I am looking for opportunities to further develop my own research and to collaborate with others.”