The investment by the Department of Health and Social Care will fund the next 5 years of the NIHR School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR). The University of Birmingham’s social care researchers will join the School to help shape its strategy and undertake ground-breaking research to improve practice.

The School funds adult social care research and training for researchers wanting to find out more about the best ways to improve social care practice. It brings together leading academic centres for social care research in England, and supports internationally leading research in social care to improve the wellbeing of people needing care and support.

The Government is committed to improving the evidence around social care so that people are provided with better and more effective services in the future. The NIHR has already invested £30 million into the School for Social Care Research, which celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2019. Thanks to the new investment, the School will continue to develop capacity in social care research in England over the next 5 years.

The new funding will allow the School’s partner organisations to build on their work in areas such as mental health, dementia care, and care homes. With the announcement that the University of Birmingham and Kings College London will be joining the School, this brings the total number of partners to seven. The School will launch a call for research proposals in summer 2019.

Researchers in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham have a strong track record of research into reducing, delaying and preventing the need for social care and exploring alternative types of care. Membership of SSCR provides an opportunity to build on existing strengths in research into wellbeing and prevention; funding care appropriately; designing effective care markets; and improving integration with health services.

This £20 million investment into social care also includes £1.8 million investment for training researchers through the new NIHR Academy, which will be coordinated through the School.

Care Minister Caroline Dinenage said:

“Thanks to advances in healthcare, people in England are living longer than ever before. That’s a testament to world-leading research and is clearly something to celebrate, but it’s important to think about how we can adapt our health and care system to meet the changing population’s needs.

“This £20 million boost to social care research is an investment in the future and will help us understand how best to provide care and support that keeps people living healthy, happy and independent lives for as long as possible.”

Professor Martin Knapp at the London School of Economics and Political Science, director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, said: “The social care system relies on robust evidence to show what people need and want, what works and with what resource implications. I’m delighted that the School is receiving further investment from NIHR through DHSC to answer these questions. Our research will continue to involve people who use services, those who provide unpaid care and the care workforce to ensure that social care works for the people who need it.”

Professor Catherine Needham from the University of Birmingham, who will be Associate Director for the School added, “We are delighted to be joining the School for Social Care Research and to be recognised for our leading social care research. There is an urgent need for evidence-based policy innovation in social care, and the scale of investment that the NIHR is making, provides scope to make a major contribution to future policy and practice”.

The seven NIHR SSCR partner institutions are:

  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • King’s College London (KCL)
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Kent
  • University of Manchester
  • University of York

Find out more

For further information, visit the NIHR website

Find out more about the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham