Find out more about the funding opportunities and support available for social care applicants.
We are a major funder of social care research in England. Since 2006, we have awarded more than £200 million to social care research projects. We also work with other funders in this space, such as the Economic and Social Research Council and the Health Foundation.
We support research across social care and social work in many ways. We:
- fund research and offer training and career development for researchers
- deliver a network of support to enable research across the social care sector
- provide opportunities for carers, social care practitioners, people who draw on social care services and their families to influence and take part in research
What is social care research?
Social care aims to help people remain independent, retain their dignity and achieve a better quality of life. The research we support works to find ways to improve people’s lives and help them live well.
Our research covers topics such as: mental capacity and personal finances, supporting parents with learning disabilities, topics related to adults with dementia and their carers.
Explore our research
We provide libraries and evidence databases that publish and promote research findings:
- Browse a selection of plain English summaries of social care research on our NIHR Evidence site
- Access social care studies and journal evidence on our NIHR Journals Library
- Explore the work and published findings from the NIHR School for Social Care Research
- Read through the different research outputs from our Policy Research Unit in Adult Social Care
A full list of active and completed NIHR funding awards is available on the Funding and Awards website.
Social care research funding
We fund social care research studies through our different funding calls. In 2023 we launched our dedicated Research Programme for Social Care.
Support is available on the process and best practice for completing the application documents. More information is available on the individual funding call pages or our social care researcher page.
Working with partners
Social care services are supported and delivered by a range of organisations and local authorities. Across the NIHR, we have successful working relationships with providers, commissioners and care organisations.
An example of one of our charity partnerships is our work with Autistica. We partnered with them to fund research into how to provide safe and effective social care for autistic adults.
Such partnerships are essential to ensure that research addresses the needs of carers and people who draw on social care services.
The school is a partnership between seven universities to develop the evidence base to inform and improve adult social care practice in England. Find out more about its work, events and training opportunities.
Explore how we work with local authorities and the support we offer to help build research capacity.
This research collection shines a spotlight on people who care for their family and friends, and explores how we can make sure they themselves are recognised and supported.