The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UKRI, and the Health Foundation have announced £15 million, partly supported by the Strategic Priorities Fund, to develop a unique Centre focused on Adult Social Care. The Centre will aim to increase the use of high quality research evidence to improve and support innovation within adult social care.From October 2019, the partners will be inviting suitably qualified and experienced teams to express their interest in applying to be the leadership team for the new Centre and manage its establishment, development and delivery.

The new Centre aims to increase the use of evidence-based innovations and improvements in adult social care and the transition from children’s services into adult social care, as well as its interfaces with other services such as health, housing and education. It will seek to improve the uptake of evidence-based interventions in commissioning and front line practice, and build capacity among staff working in adult social care to evaluate innovations and improvements.

Operating across the UK, and drawing on UK wide learning, the Centre will bring together academic teams and experts in the mobilisation and implementation of research evidence, with social care staff, providers, commissioners, policy experts, and people with lived experience of adult social care. ESRC and the Health Foundation have a strong track record of funding high quality research in improvement and innovation in both health and social care. This exciting opportunity allows the partners to combine their collective expertise and experience in knowledge mobilisation and innovation to support the improvement of adult social care.

Engagement events

To support the commissioning of the Centre, the Health Foundation and ESRC will be running a series of engagement workshops. The events will bring together potential applicants to discuss the initiative with representatives from the Health Foundation and ESRC, to explore some of the challenges they are trying to address and to build the necessary networks and partnerships needed to develop the Centre and achieves its aims.

The format of the event will be a combination of talks, open discussion with Q&A and a networking opportunity. Potential applicants are strongly advised to attend one of the events. The events are happening in London on 6 November 2019 and in Edinburgh on 12 November 2019. Details and registration for the London event can be found here and for the Edinburgh event here.

For those unable to attend the workshops on these dates, we will hold a webinar for potential applicants on 14 November at 13:00, which will last approximately an hour. Spaces will be limited, so we encourage you to register your interest early to avoid disappointment by emailing Social Care. Registration for the webinar will close on 7 November 2019.

The opportunity

The Centre will be delivered by a team of academics, social care providers and commissioners, knowledge mobilisation experts and people with lived experience of social care. The Centre will have a UK-wide remit and will be expected to operate in the existing regional and national landscapes. Candidates for principal investigator (Centre Director) should be based at a UK university or independent research organisation eligible to receive UKRI research funding. The Centre will be commissioned as a single entity through one funding call.

Further detailed information and community engagement is expected to launch in late October 2019 with anticipated funding of up to £15 million available. The funding call will have an intention to submit stage which will open at the same time as the main call. Applicants are invited to complete an intention to submit form prior to submitting a full proposal; it is not a requirement to provide an intention to submit in order to apply, but applicants are strongly encouraged to do so.


The provisional commissioning timetable for the Centre is as follows:

Activity Date
Full guidance published Late October 2019
Engagement events Early November 2019
Application deadline (intention to submit) Late November 2019
Application deadline (full proposals) Late January 2020
Decisions announced July 2020
Awards commence October 2020