Susanne Iwarsson

Professor, Doctor Honoris Causa, PhD, Reg. occupational therapist, Excellent Teaching Practitioner, ETP

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Personal profile


Since 2005, I am the holder of Mary and Seved Ribbing’s professorship in gerontology and care for older people at the Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, I have a PhD in medical science (1997) and became an associated professor in occupational therapy in 1999. In 2003, I was promoted to professor in occupational therapy. In 2010, I was awarded the title Excellent Teaching Practitioner (ETP) at the Faculty of Medicine. I am a registered occupational therapist with clinical experience in geriatrics and primary care.

In parallel with commitment to research and education at different levels, I have for most of my career had various management assignments. I have extensive experience in academic leadership within Lund University, for example, as Head of Division and Deputy Head of Department. During the years 2006-2011, I was the Pro-dean of the Faculty of Medicine and during 2006-2014 member of the faculty board. For five years, I was engaged in leading Lund University's strategic Research Area in neuroscience, MultiPark as assistant coordinator (2010-2011) and coordinator and chairman of the board (2012-2014). Since 2007, I am the Director of the Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE) and since 2014 coordinator of the Swedish National Graduate School for Competitive Science on Ageing and Health (SWEAH).

I am head of the interdisciplinary research group Active and Healthy Ageing which is focusing on environmental gerontology in combination with health sciences and neuroscience. We are studying the ageing individual’s and population’s opportunities for activity and participation in society. We are also developing methods relevant for planning of housing and a society accessible to all, with the Enabler and Housing Enabler as the most acknowledged contributions. 

Under my supervision, eighteen students have completed their PhD degrees and six have taken a licentiate degree (main supervisor of fourteen, resp. four), both at LU and at universities in Latvia, Finland and the United States. Currently, I am the main supervisor of four PhD students and assistant supervisor of four. I am a member of the Teaching Academy at the Faculty of Medicine and actively involved in the development of PhD education and postdoc training, primarily through graduate schools.

I am the PI of the Home, health and disability along the process of ageing project, where very old people in several European countries have been studied since 2002. Subsequently, the project has been expanded to comprise a number of sub-projects, for example some focusing on people ageing with a chronic disease and disabilities. The project has so far resulted in eight theses and about 60 scientific publications. I am also the PI of the UserAge program, where we in collaboration with colleagues at Kristianstad University, the Linnaeus University and the University of Gothenburg are developing new knowledge about user participation in research on ageing and health. Several of our projects are carried out in close collaboration with Skåne University Hospital, Health City Ängelholm and municipalities in Skåne. I am also engaged in developing ageing research internationally, particularly in Europe.

Iwarsson , S. (1997). Functional Capacity and Physical Environmental Demand. Exploration of Factors Influencing Everyday Activity and Health in the Elderly Population. ISBN 91-628-2351-5. Dissertation. Department of Community Medicine Sciences Dalby/Lund , Lund University. Lund, Sweden

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
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

UKÄ subject classification

  • Medical and Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • occupational therapy
  • gerontology
  • rehabilitation
  • public health
  • neuroscience
  • housing
  • assistive technology
  • CASE - Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments


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