Social care research in England will get up to £20 million in new funding through the National Institute for Health Research, boosting research to improve adult social care across the country.

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), which funds adult social care research and training for research staff. The School also brings together leading academic centres for social care research in England and supports research by social care professionals and academics to improve the way social care is delivered.

The new funding will allow the School’s partner organisations to build on their work in areas such as mental health, dementia, and care homes and the School will launch a call for research proposals in summer 2019.

Additionally, the funding will allow the School to continue to build the evidence base and develop capacity in social care research in England over the next 5 years.

Ongoing research projects include investigating how staff in supported accommodation can support people with challenging behaviours, looking at whether providing adaptations to bathing facilities in people’s homes can improve quality of life and relieve pressure on other services, and studying how hearing dogs can affect people’s wellbeing and mental health.

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.”

The £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.

Professor Martin Knapp at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, commented: “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.”

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