• About

    Dr Benjamin Costello

    BA (Hons), MA, PhD, FRSA, FHEA, FInstLM


    Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, Vice-Chair of BARN, and Trustee of Redditch Nightstop.

    An experienced researcher, teacher, and advisor in applied/practical ethics, mental health, applied health research, and social policy.

    Currently engaged in qualitative research in mental health, forensic psychology, advocacy, twin pregnancy, and FGM, and theoretical research in applied ethics (particularly prevention and early intervention).

    Preferred pronouns: he/his

  • Experience

    Research Posts

    Research Fellow (Forensic Psychology)
    School of Psychology, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
    November 2020 – Present

    Research Fellow (Twin Pregnancy)
    Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham
    August 2020 – October 2020

    Research Fellow (Female Genital Mutilation, FGM)
    Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham
    April 2019 – September 2020

    Research Fellow (Advocacy)
    Health Services Management Centre, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham
    June 2020 – August 2020

    Research Fellow (Mental Health)
    Health Services Management Centre, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham
    October 2018 – March 2019

    Research Fellow (Corpus Linguistics)
    School of English, Drama, and American and Canadian Studies, College or Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    October 2018 – January 2019

    Research Associate (Mental Health) and Advisor to the Mental Health Policy Commission
    School of Social Policy, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham
    September 2016 – July 2018

    Research Assistant (Philosophy)
    Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    November 2013 – October 2014

    Teaching Posts

    Academic Writing Tutor
    Academic Writing Advisory Service, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    February 2015 – May 2020

    Teaching Associate (Learning and Teaching in Higher Education)
    Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi), University of Birmingham
    September 2019
    – April 2020

    Academic Skills Advisor

    Academic Skills Centre, University of Birmingham
    October 2017 – March 2020

    Teaching Associate (Philosophy)
    Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    October 2014 – March 2019

    Subject Workshop Instructor (Philosophy and Mental Health)
    Outreach and Recruitment, University of Birmingham
    January 2014 – October 2019

    Academic-Related Posts

    Student Experience Officer
    Birmingham Law School, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    March 2016 – June 2016 (Secondment)

    Project Co-ordinator
    Bank of Assessed Work, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham
    November 2014 – July 2016

    Voluntary Posts

    Redditch Nightstop
    July 2019 – Present

    Journal Copy Editor
    Evental Aesthetics
    April 2019 – Present

    Director/Trustee and Vice-Chair
    Bromsgrove and Redditch Network (BARN)
    February 2019 – Present

    For details and to view my full employment history, visit LinkedIn.

  • Education

    University of Birmingham

    Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, Philosophy
    Awarded in 2019

    Thesis Title: Moral Sequencing and Intervening to Prevent Harm
    Supervisors: Professor Lisa Bortolotti and Dr Iain Law
    Examiners: Dr Jonathan Parry and Dr Patrick Tomlin

    University of Southampton

    Master of Arts, MA, Philosophy
    Merit, awarded in 2013

    Bachelor of Arts, BA (Hons), Philosophy
    First Class with Honours, awarded in 2012

  • Research

    Main research areas include:

    • Moral sequencing
    • Prevention and early intervention
    • Mental health crisis care
    • Mental health & well-being
    • Female genital mutilation
    • Decision-making
  • Publications

    Commission Reports

    • Burstow, P., Newbigging, K., Tew, J., and Costello, B. (2018). Investing in a Resilient Generation: Keys to a Mentally Prosperous Nation. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. Available at: www.birmingham.ac.uk/mhpc

    Journal Articles

    • Jones, L., Danks, E., Costello, B., Jolly, L., Cross-Sudworth, F., Latthe, P., Fassam-Wright, M., Clarke, J., Byrne, A. and Taylor, J. (forthcoming) 'Female genital mutilation: a qualitative study exploring survivors’ and healthcare professionals’ views on the timing of deinfibulation surgery (FGM Sister Study)'. Health Technology Assessment.

    • Newbigging, K., Rees, J. Ince, R., Mohan, J., Joseph, D., Ashman, M., Norden, B., Dare, C., Bourke, S., and Costello, B. (2020). 'The contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England: a mixed methods study'. Health Services and Delivery Research, 8(29). DOI: 10.3310/hsdr08290

    • Jones, L., Danks, E., Clarke, J., Alidu, L., Costello, B., Jolly, K., Byrne, A., Fassam-Wright, M., Latthe, P., and Taylor, J. (2019). 'Exploring the views of female genital mutilation survivors, their male partners and healthcare professionals on the timing of deinfibulation surgery and NHS FGM care provision (the FGM Sister Study): protocol for a qualitative study'. BMJ Open, 9(10): e034140. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034140

    • 2 papers currently under review and 6 papers in preparation

    Online Articles

  • Grants & Funding

    Successful funding includes:

    • Newbigging, K. and Costello, B. ‘Enabling disabled people to have a voice in their care and to receive support during COVID-19’. ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Urgency Fund, £6,868 value, awarded in June 2020

    • Costello, B. and Duggal, S. ‘Improving belonging and inclusion for University of Birmingham BAME students: identifying barriers and inequalities using Experience-Based Co-Design to improve the education pathway’. University of Birmingham Education Enhancement Fund, application EEFP253, £13,193 value, awarded in January 2020

    • Costello, B. and Thompson, P. ‘Employing corpus analysis and qualitative data analysis tools to better understand and act on free-text comments from student feedback: a mixed-methods study’. University of Birmingham Education Enhancement Fund, application EEFP265, £10,804 value, awarded in December 2019

    • Costello, B. and Allen, P. University of Birmingham Postgraduate Research Support Fund, £1,200 value, awarded in March 2014

  • mic Talks


    Invited to give talks, lectures, and workshops at the University of Birmingham for outreach events, widening participation events, campus visits, residential summer schools, TeachFirst events, public talks, and other events.

    Talks have included:

    • 'Investing in a Resilient Generation'
    • 'How Can We Tell If Someone Is Mentally Ill? A Philosophical Approach to Psychiatry'
    • 'Mental Illness, Involuntary Hospitalisation, and Nosological Uncertainty'
    • 'Finding Normality in Mental Illness'

    Please see my CV for the full list of talks.

    Conference Presentations

    • Jones L.L., Costello, B., Danks, E., Cross-Sudworth, F., Fassam-Wright, M., Latthe, P, Byrne, A., Jolly, K., and Taylor, J. (2020). ‘Exploring views and experiences of the impact of female genital mutilation (FGM) on the sexual and reproductive health of survivors, male partners and healthcare professionals across the UK: part of the FGM Sister Study.’ Annual Scientific Meeting 2020, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), 20-21/04/2020 [Postponed due to COVID-19]

    • Costello, B. and Danks, E. (2019). ‘The FGM Sister Study’. North West Central Social Care Conference, Tally-Ho! Birmingham, 03/07/2019

    • Costello, B. and Taylor, N. (2019). Exploiting Technologies to Improve the Module Evaluation Questionnaire (MEQ) Feedback-Loop. Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFI) Conference 2019, University of Birmingham, 20-21/06/2019

    • Costello, B. (2019) Moral Sequencing and Intervening to Prevent Harm, Research Poster Conference 2019, University of Birmingham, 19/06/2019

    • Costello, B. and Finan, L. (2015). Advocating Active Learning: Developments in the College of Arts and Law Bank of Assessed Work. 12th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Birmingham, 23/06/2015

  • Fellowships & Memberships

    Learned Societies, Professional Institutions, and Professional Associations

    • Fellow (FRSA), The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
    • Fellow (FHEA), Higher Education Academy (HEA)
    • Fellow (FInstLM), The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)
    • Member, Q (The Health Foundation)
    • Member, The British Philosophical Association (BPA)
    • Member, The Royal Institute of Philosophy (RIP)
    • Member, International Association for Youth Mental Health (IAYMH)

  • Skills
    • Qualitative Research
    • Teaching
    • Outreach and Public Engagement
    • Proofreading and Copyediting
    • Advising and Consultancy
    • Content Creation
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