Dr Rebecca Hardwick

Dr Rebecca Hardwick

NIHR South West Peninsula ARC (PenARC) Senior Research Fellow (Mental Health)

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)

Dr Rebecca Hardwick can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Health inequalities
  • Health services
  • Mental health
  • Primary care
  • Social care
  • Social prescribing
  • Voluntary sector commissioning
  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Ethnography
  • Field work
  • Framework analysis
  • Systematic reviews


Rebecca is a Senior Research Fellow in Health Services Research. She is co-lead of the National Institute for Health and Care Research South West Peninsula Applied Research Collaborative (PenARC) Mental Health Research Initiative. Which has to be one of the longest job titles ever. Put simply - her work is centered on doing applied mental health research that matters to the people and places of the South West of England.  

Prior to academia, Rebecca worked in policy implementation, public health, mental health voluntary sector and the mental health survivor movement. 

She is experienced in realist methodology and undertook at post-doctoral post at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory, Australia with Professor Gill Westhorp working on realist evaluations of international development programmes and domestic social and welfare projects.  

She did her PhD at the University of Exeter, an enthnographic study of research and knowledge use in UK mental health third sector organisations. 

She currently supervises two students, one at CDU and one at the University of Plymouth.  


PhD Medical Studies, University of Exeter 

MSc Public Health, University of the West of England

BSc (Hons) Psychology, Goldsmiths' College, University of London



Research interests

Research interests include realist methodology, voluntary sector commissioning, knowledge mobilisation, public health, international development and evaluation research.

Other research

Methodologist. Indigenous Language Revitalisation in Northern Australian contexts: a realist evaluation. Charles Darwin University 

PhD Supervisor, Mr Brandon Walsh. Evaluation of Language Revitalisation programmes. Charles Darwin University

Grants & contracts

2019 Secretariat of the Pacific Community Capacity Building Evaluation EU 45,000 (co-investigator)

2019 – Charles Darwin University Rainmaker Readiness Grant: Evaluation of Indigenous Language Centres. AUD 20,000 (co-investigator)

2019 – Charles Darwin University Rainmaker Grant: Evaluation of Water, Land and Environment Programmes on soil and water management in Ethiopia. AUD 5000 (co-investigator)

2019 – Charles Darwin University Rainmaker Grant: Start-Up SIDA African Research Capacity Building AUD 5000 (consultancy)

2018 – MAR-X: QA Realist Method Design – Market Approach to Resilience in Ethiopia Extension AUD 9000 (co-investigator)

2018 – Charles Darwin University Rainmaker Grant: Workforce Northern Territory Research and Evaluation Creative Careers AUD 5000 (co-investigator)

2015 Devon Community Housing Aid Bay6 Service Evaluation GBP 10,000 (co-applicant)

2013 Association of Commonwealth Universities, Travel Award, GBP 2000 (individual award)

2013 University of Exeter Researcher-Led Initiative Grant, Development Award, GBP 2000 (co-applicant)



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Sheaff W, Ellis-Paine A, Exworthy M, Hardwick R & Smith C (2023) 'Commodification and healthcare in the third sector in England: from gift to commodity – and back?' Public Money & Management , DOI Open access
Long JC, Sarkies MN, Francis-Auton E, Roberts N, Hardwick R, Nguyen HM, Levesque J-F, Watson DE, Westbrook J & Hibbert PD (2023) 'Guiding principles for effective collaborative implementation strategies for multisite hospital improvement initiatives: a mixed-method realist evaluation of collaborative strategies used in four multisite initiatives at public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia' BMJ Open 13, (6) , DOI Open access
Wiltshire B, Bird S & Hardwick R (2022) 'Understanding how language revitalisation works: a realist synthesis' Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 1-17 , DOI Open access
Sarkies MN, Francis-Auton E, Long JC, Pomare C, Hardwick R & Braithwaite J (2022) 'Making implementation science more real' BMC Medical Research Methodology 22, (1) , DOI Open access
Long JC, Sarkies MN, Francis Auton E, Nguyen HM, Pomare C, Hardwick R & Braithwaite J (2022) 'Conceptualising contexts, mechanisms and outcomes for implementing large-scale, multisite hospital improvement initiatives: a realist synthesis' BMJ Open 12, (5) e058158-e058158 , DOI
Francis-Auton E, Sarkies MN, Pomare C, Long JC, Hardwick R, Nguyen HM & Braithwaite J (2022) 'Real Talk: <b>A Realist Dialogic Approach in a Realist Evaluation</b>' International Journal of Qualitative Methods 21, 160940692211207-160940692211207 , DOI Open access
Dalkin SM, Hardwick RJL, Haighton CA & Finch TL (2021) 'Combining Realist approaches and Normalization Process Theory to understand implementation: a systematic review' Implementation Science Communications 2, (1) , DOI Open access
Jenkins G, Maugeri I, Palermo C & Hardwick R (2021) 'Using realist approaches in nutrition and dietetics research' Nutrition and Dietetics 78, (3) 238-251 , DOI Open access
Sarkies MN, Francis-Auton E, Long JC, Partington A, Pomare C, Nguyen HM, Wu W, Westbrook J, Day RO & Levesque J-F (2020) 'Implementing large-system, value-based healthcare initiatives: a realist study protocol for seven natural experiments' BMJ Open 10, (12) e044049-e044049 , DOI Open access
Lang IA & Hardwick R (2016) 'Knowledge, knowledge mobilisation and the third sector' Voluntary Sector Review 7, (2) 209-218 , DOI
Anderson R & Hardwick R (2016) 'Realism and resources: Towards more explanatory economic evaluation' Evaluation 22, (3) 323-341 , DOI
Hardwick R, Anderson R & Cooper C (2015) 'How do third sector organisations use research and other knowledge? A systematic scoping review' Implementation Science 10, (1) , DOI
Hardwick R, Heaton J, Griffiths G, Vaidya B, Child S, Fleming S, Hamilton WT, Tomlinson J, Zhelev Z & Patterson A (2014) 'Exploring reasons for variation in ordering thyroid function tests in primary care: a qualitative study' Qual Prim Care 22, (6) 256-261 Author Site
Hardwick R (2013) 'Integrated services for women through a One Stop Shop: a realist review' Journal of Integrated Care 21, (5) 263-275 , DOI
Hardwick R, Pearson M, Anderson R & Byng R (2013) 'The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of shared care: protocol for realist review' Open access
Anderson R, Hardwick R, Pearson M & Byng R (2018) 'Using realist approaches to explain the costs and cost-effectiveness of programmes' in Emmel N; Dalkin S; Greenhalgh J Doing Realist Research SAGE
Presentations and posters
Cunningham M, Warren A, pollard N, Abey S & Hardwick R Cunningham M, Warren A, pollard N, Abey S & Hardwick R 'A new way of seeing; how can occupational therapists harness arts-based occupations for social transformation? The case of participatory photography' Open access


Conferences organised

2019 – 2020 Scientific Programme Committee Chair: Realist2020 International Conference on Realist Research, Evaluation and Synthesis.

2017-present Organising committee member: UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum Conference.

2017 Organising committee member: Realist2017 International Conference for Realist Research, Evaluation and Synthesis