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NIHR’s new social care call to launch in May – research on ideas from the social care front-line

Published: 24 April 2018

NIHR’s Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme will be launching an additional call this year, focusing on social care.

This initiative particularly seeks to fund high quality research ideas which come from the front line of social care, and to support partnerships between social care researchers and practitioners. This applies across a wide spectrum of topic areas for research, which has the potential to improve adult social care practice. This call is aimed at researchers across a wide range of experience levels and will help to grow capacity in social care research.

The new call will launch on 9 May and researchers will have until 4 July 2018 to apply. It will be open to universities, local authorities and NHS bodies or other providers of NHS services in England with individual project awards up to to £350,000 available. Applications are expected to demonstrate strong links to people with social care needs, to social care service users and carers, and to organisations which provide social care services.

Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department of Health and Social Care said:

“I am delighted that this call for research proposals has been announced by NIHR. The people we serve deserve the best social care services. Good care is about safeguarding people’s rights and working with them, so they can live the lives they want. Research can provide the evidence to help us achieve this. I am particularly pleased that this programme is designed to bring forward ideas from social workers, occupational therapists and social care staff working with people and their families. ‎This will ensure that research is on the issues which matter to people receiving or in need of social care and support.”

The RfPB Programme has funded research in social care to date and the programme is keen to extend support for high quality social care research. The response to this call for social care research will help inform possible developments to the RfPB remit and future eligibility criteria for funding applications.

Applications addressing areas of social care including, but not limited to, the following would be welcomed by the Programme:

  • 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

As social care covers such a broad area applicants will be able to contact the RfPB team or submit a pre-submission form to ascertain whether the proposed project is in scope of the call. The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) will also be running three events where further information and advice on the call can be obtained.

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