This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Beta

This is a new site which is still under development. We welcome your feedback, which will help improve it.

Feedback form

NIHR Research for Social Care - Call Specification

 

Contents

Introduction

Social care is an increasing priority for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We intend to improve and extend the evidence base for adult social care, consistent with the remit of the Department of Health and Social Care. The NIHR is keen to extend support for high quality social care research, hence this current call for research proposals specifically on adult social care.

Following a successful social care call by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme in 2018, the NIHR will continue to offer social care research funding opportunities via the RfPB programme in its annual Research for Social Care (RfSC) call.  In the RfSC call we expect research proposals to demonstrate strong links to people with social care needs, to social care service users and carers, and to organisations which provide adult social care services. We also expect proposals to demonstrate strong and appropriate research expertise, with teams which can demonstrate a track record of relevant published research.

Key information

The RfSC call is an annual competition for social care research proposals, which will be assessed by a national committee of social care research experts.

Budget

The budget for this call will be £3m, and individual projects will be funded up to £350k.

Key dates

Indicative call dates, subject to confirmation.

Event Date
Call Launch September 2019
RDS Event - Bristol 30 September 2019
RDS Event - Manchester 08 October 2019
RDS Event - London 14 October 2019
RDS Event - York 17 October 2019
RDS Event - Birmingham 22 October 2019
Stage 1 call close January 2020
Stage 1 committee assessment March 2020
Stage 2 call open March/April 2020
Stage 2 call close May 2020
External peer review May 2020
Stage 2 committee assessment June 2020
Final decision and outcome notification August 2020

 

Eligibility 

Applications will be made through universities, local authorities, and NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services in England, which will act as the contracting organisation, be the recipient of the funds, and will be responsible for the delivery of the research. The sponsor of the research (that is the organisation directly responsible for securing the arrangements to initiate, manage and finance the study) can be either the contracting organisation or a collaborating partner, as long as that organisation is capable of fulfilling the role of a research sponsor as set out in the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

Applications are expected to have strong involvement and collaboration with organisations that are responsible for delivering social care services e.g local authorities and third sector, where appropriate.

Partner organisations from outside of England may be included, provided a strong case is made that it is best placed to provide the necessary expertise to carry out the planned research.

Approach to funding social care research

RfSC will fund research which generates evidence to improve, expand and strengthen the way adult social care is delivered for users of care services, carers, and the public. 

RfSC welcomes high quality proposals from researchers and practitioners which are focused on:

  • Social care needs and relevant outcomes (which could be quality of life, social or health care related, as appropriate to the study, population etc.)
  • Developing a more robust evidence base for current ways of working
  • Developing and evaluating new ways of delivering social care
  • Secondary data analysis, record linkage and reviews
  • Research methods development 
  • Care users’ and carers’ circumstances and needs
  • Those who deliver social care including unpaid carers and the staff and professionals involved in the delivery of social care e.g. social workers.

Using the above points, in terms of developing research proposals, RfSC would welcome applications addressing areas of social care including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Transitions and interactions between health and social care and other systems
  • Transition from children’s to adult care services
  • Health and social care inequalities
  • Transitions between self-funded and local authority-funded care
  • ‘Unmet’ social care needs
  • New models of care
  • Self–funders and their families
  • End-of-life care 
  • Housing and employment related support
  • Family carers, unpaid carers and carer support
  • Social care practice and workforce
  • Social prescribing and other approaches to working, such as strengths- and assets-based approaches
  • Economic analyses of social care services and systems 
  • Interventions to help tackle loneliness and isolation

We are aware that social care is broad and if you are unsure as to whether a topic is within scope for the call you will be able to contact the team and submit a pre-submission form once the call has launched.

Application process and selection criteria

 

The criteria used by the assessing committee at both application stages will be:

Quality of the research proposed:

  • Is this an important research question?
  • Is the proposed methodology robust, and based on sound scientific rationale?
  • Will the proposed methodology answer the research question?
  • Has the research involved service users at relevant stages of the project?

Significance and potential benefit to social care and users of services:

  • What is the trajectory to social care benefit?
  • What is the likelihood this will lead to benefit?
  • What is the likely scale of impact?

Value for money provided by the application:

  • Given the likelihood of achieving benefit, is this proposal costed appropriately?
  • Given the likely scale of impact, does it provide value for money?

Approach to applicants

The RfSC call adopts the same principle as RfPB which welcomes proposals led by social care researchers and/or practitioners as part of a wider multidisciplinary team.  These teams would be expected to include strong methods support from experienced research specialists.

RfPB has a track record of funding researchers at various stages of their careers, from new investigators to senior investigators.  RfSC’s approach to assessing the research team is to assess the team as a whole, meaning the lead applicant can be a relatively newer investigator providing there is a clearly identified, sufficient, convincing and appropriately resourced team supporting the newer researcher. When the team support is robust we actively encourage less experienced researchers as leads.

Support for applicants

When developing a proposal for submission to RfSC, the programme strongly recommends seeking advice from your local NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) at the earliest opportunity.

To support applicants to this RfSC call, the RDS will be holding a number of events, which will include presentations from RfSC and the RDS on the scope of the call and the support that is available.  There will also be opportunities for researchers to discuss their research ideas with members of RfSC programme team and the RDS.

Events are planned for:

Find out more

Applicants considering submitting a Stage 1 application should consider submitting an outline of their proposal for guidance before official submission. This can be done using the Pre-submission Form which will open with the call launch. This is non-mandatory and purely aimed at helping potential applicants to engage with the requirements of the call (e.g. eligibility and remit).