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Research for Social Care

The NIHR Research for Social Care (RfSC) call is an annual competition specifically for social care proposals, run by NIHR's Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme.

The aim of the annual RfSC call is to fund topics and research methodologies that increase the effectiveness of social care services, provide value for money and benefit service users and carers.

Adult social care is a strategic priority for NIHR. Following a successful social care call in 2018, the Research for Patient Benefit programme now has an annual Research for Social Care (RfSC) call.

RfSC funds 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. For full details, please see the call specification. Individual projects will be funded up to £350,000.

Applications through RfSC should 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. Proposals should also demonstrate appropriate research expertise, and teams should have a track record of relevant published research.

Scope

What do we fund?

The RfSC call funds 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.

How long and how much?

The funding available for individual projects is up to £350,000 for up to 36 months. For more information , please see our supplemental guidance notes on finance.

When is funding available?

RfSC has one opportunity per year. See the dates for our funding competitions.

How do I apply?

RfSC has a two stage application process. Please see the applicant guidance for stage 1 to 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. This is non-mandatory and purely aimed at helping potential applicants to engage with the requirements of the call (e.g. eligibility and remit).

Research proposals are submitted to RfSC online through the Research Management System. We supply template application forms to help researchers prepare their proposal ahead of submission.

More information on stage 2 is available in the guidance for applicants and finance guidance.

What we fund

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 research is expected to have a high degree of involvement from relevant users of social care and social care practitioners throughout the research. 

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.

We are aware that social care is broad. If you are unsure as to whether a topic is within scope for the call please see the call specificationcontact the team or submit a pre-submission form.

Our people

The RfSC call is a national call with applications reviewed by a national committee comprising social care experts, methodologists, public and practitioner members.

Committee members review all stage 1 and stage 2 applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from expert peer reviewers.

The committee recommends projects for funding to the Department of Health and Social Care, which approves which projects should be funded.

Members of NIHR Committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

Interested in joining one of our committees? View our committee vacancies.

Contact us

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.

Tel: 020 8843 8057
Email: rfsc@nihr.ac.uk
Our operating hours are 9am to 5pm.

Our programme team

Assistant Director

Mr Ben Morgan

Senior Programme Manager

Ms Laura Mason (RfSC)

Latest funding opportunities for Research for Patient Benefit

Research for Social Care - Mental health call

The NIHR Research for Social Care (RfSC) call invites proposals for research to address important social care questions around mental health in Northern England.

Research for Social Care - Dementia funding call

Applications are invited for research proposals for an additional Research for Social Care call about dementia.

Research for Patient Benefit - Competition 46

Funding Opportunities Post - Competition 46

All Research for Patient Benefit funding opportunities

Latest news about Social Care

Latest documents for Research for Patient Benefit

Research for Social Care - Research specification for Dementia Call

Key information and dates for the Research for Social Care call on dementia

Research for Social Care - Research specification for mental health in Northern England call

Research specification for the Research for Social Care (RfSC) funding call for mental health research in Northern England.

Mental health research in Northern England - Round 2 highlight notice

Further to the recently announced funding call on mental health research in Northern England, the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme and Research for Social Care (RfSC) call will seek further proposals on this theme via a highlight notice against two calls that will launch in July 2021.

NIHR research contract - NHS Trust example

This document provides an example of a standard NIHR research contract between the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and an NHS Trust.

NIHR standard contract - Commercial organisations example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a commercial organisation, such as a life sciences company.

All Research for Patient Benefit documents

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