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Social care researchers

We work with researchers to fund and drive research in priority areas across social care and social work.

Funding for social care research

We offer funding for social care studies through our different funding calls.

One of our main funding streams for social care research is the Research for Social Care call. This call runs twice a year and offers funding for projects which aim to improve social care. It has funded research on a range of topics such as:

  • wellbeing issues for formal and informal carers
  • needs of adults with learning disabilities or autism
  • experiences of individuals who self-fund their care costs and the support they need

It encourages a range of applications, from early career through to senior researchers. Read about this study into those who self-fund their social care, which was funded by the Research for Social Care call.

The Health and Social Care Delivery Research Programme offers funding for evaluative research to improve social care services. It is open to applications all year round and advertises priority social care topics. 

Social care research projects are also funded via our Health Technology Assessment Programme. This programme looks at cost-effectiveness and the broader impact of treatments, such as this study into assistive technology to maintain independent living.

Funding for projects which inform social care policy making can be awarded via our Policy Research Programme.

View the list of open and active social care funding calls on our funding opportunities page.

Career development

We provide opportunities to develop your career in social care research.

We understand that not everyone will have the time to pursue an academic career. There are resources and opportunities to get involved in that will give you a taste of research:

Help and guidance for social care research applicants

We are not only funders of research. We offer help and support along the research pathway, even if you are completely new to research.

Designing a study

If you have an idea for a research question or something you want to research further, our Research Design Service (RDS) can offer free guidance and support. RDS advisers can support you to identify the gaps in the project and ensure your research will be robust.

Writing proposals

The RDS can help you write clear and competitive research applications. They can read draft proposals and provide constructive feedback. Individual funding calls also offer support and run events such as writing workshops. For example, potential applicants to the Research for Social Care call can use its pre-submission form to submit a brief outline of their projects and get some initial feedback from the team.

Applying for funding

The RDS can help direct you to the most relevant funding sources. It can help you prepare for application interviews and guide you through the process of getting funded.

Involving professionals and the public

Within the NIHR, there is extensive experience of involving the public in research. If you need input from carers, people who draw on social care services or social care professionals into the design of your study, the RDS can help.

If you need help to locate settings and participants, our Local Clinical Research Networks can help to connect you with relevant people. For example, if you are a researcher looking to work with home care providers, we can help facilitate that.

Our ENRICH network can advise, support and recruit for research within care homes.

Disseminating your research

Our journals library, evidence databases and NIHR Open Research platform can help publish and promote your research findings. 

Get in touch

If you are planning a study, thinking about how to develop a research idea or want to learn more, contact your local RDS service. You can also find and contact your Local Clinical Research Network.

You can also find out more about programme remits and more information by contacting  funding call teams:

Research Design Service

Find your local Research Design Service and learn more about how they can support you to begin a research project.

Applied research collaborations

Our regional Applied Research Collaborations link together universities, local authorities, charities and other organisations in social care.