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.
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. Current projects include studies such as exploring family group conferencing in adult social care and mental health, and what difference it can make in people's lives.
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.
We provide opportunities to develop your career in social care research.
- We offer doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships to individuals from any professional background.
- We have schemes for those based in local authority settings which allow applicants to combine research with their current role. Our Local Authority Academic Fellowship is available at pre-doctoral and doctoral levels.
- We offer short placements within the NIHR via our Local Authorities SPARC scheme. There is also the opportunity for academics to undertake placements in local authorities.
- Registered social care professionals can join our Integrated Clinical and Practitioner Academic Programme. It offers the chance to combine a research career while still working.
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:
- The School for Social Care Research hosts resources, events and training, including a webinar archive.
- The NIHR Incubator for Social Care is a community of individuals and organisations in adult social care with an interest in research. It can provide information about training and development you could undertake.
- Our YouTube channel has a selection of webinars.
- Our NIHR Learn platform offers free training on leadership development.
Help and support
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.
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.
Our journals library, evidence databases and NIHR Open Research platform can help publish and promote your research findings.
Get in touch
You can also find out more about programme remits and more information by contacting funding call teams:
Read about Stacey's journey into social care research and how the Research for Social Care call has supported her.
Find your local Research Design Service and learn more about how they can support you to begin a research project.
Our regional Applied Research Collaborations link together universities, local authorities, charities and other organisations in social care.