The Sustainable Care Research Programme, based at the University of Sheffield, is investigating how social care arrangements can be made sustainable. The new programme is focusing on the care needs of adults living at home with chronic health problems or disabilities.

Funded 2017-2021 through the ESRC Large Grants scheme, the Sustainable Care Research Programme is investigating sustainability and wellbeing across care systems, care work and care relationships. It is led by Professor Sue Yeandle at the University of Sheffield.

The research team comprises 20 scholars in seven universities, linked to an international network spanning 15 countries and 26 research institutions. The researchers are specialists in a range of fields, including care, health, human ecology, gender studies, political economy, management, migration, social gerontology, social policy, sociology and technology.

The main objective of the programme is to increase understanding of economically and socially sustainable care – especially how to achieve wellbeing for care users, their families/ carers and paid care workers.

The researchers are providing evidence to inform care planning and provision in areas such as:

  • care infrastructure (systems, networks, partnerships, standards)
  • divisions of caring labour/the political economy of care (inequalities, exploitation)
  • care ethics, rights, recognition and values (frameworks, standards, entitlements, wellbeing outcomes)
  • care technologies and human-technological interactions
  • care relations in emotional, familial, community and intergenerational/transnational contexts.

Leadership team

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Sue Yeandle, University of Sheffield
  • Work Strand co-leaders:
    • Professor Jon Glasby, University of Birmingham
    • Professor Jill Manthorpe, King’s College London
  • Director of Impact: Madeleine Starr, Carers UK
  • Director of Capacity Building: Professor Norah Keating, University of Swansea

Research projects

The Sustainable Care Research Programme is divided into two work strands, ‘Care systems’ and ‘Care work and relationships’, comprising the following research projects:

  • Sustainable wellbeing: A conceptual and analytical framework for policy and practice in care and caring
    Project lead: Professor J. Allister McGregor (University of Sheffield)
  • Comparing UK care systems: Prospects, developments and differentiation in the four UK nations
    Project lead: Dr Catherine Needham (University of Birmingham)
  • Modelling care system costs and contributions: Data for a sustainable care and wellbeing strategy
    Project lead: Dr Matt Bennett (University of Birmingham) and Professor Janet Fast (University of Alberta)
  • Achieving sustainability in care systems: The potential of technology
    Project lead: Professor Mark Hawley (University of Sheffield)
  • Migrant care workers in the UK: An analysis of sustainability of care at home
    Project lead: Professor Shereen Hussein (King’s College London)
  • Delivering care at home: Emerging models and their implications for sustainable wellbeing
    Project lead: Dr Diane Burns (University of Sheffield)
  • Combining work and care: Workplace support and its contribution to sustainable care arrangements
    Project lead: Professor Jason Heyes (University of Sheffield) and Professor Janet Fast (University of Alberta)
  • Technologies to support working carers: Connecting people and systems
    Project lead: Professor Luc de Witte (University of Sheffield)
  • Care 'in' and 'out of' place: Towards sustainable wellbeing in mobile and diverse contexts
    Project lead: Dr Majella Kilkey (University of Sheffield) and Professor Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield)