We fund a wealth of projects and initiatives under our Social Care portfolio. This page provides an introduction to ESRC’s current major investments relevant to Social Care.

IMPACT – IMProving Adult Care Together

In collaboration with the Health Foundation, this £15 million programme aims to promote better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence in adult social care and support people working in adult social care, carers and the people they support to adopt innovations and improvements. The Centre aims to put evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing across the UK.

The Centre is led by Director Professor Jon Glasby, University of Birmingham in conjunction with a wider co-leadership team consisting of individuals from the following organisations:

  • Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
  • British Association of Social Workers
  • Cardiff University
  • Carers UK
  • Scottish Care
  • Skills for Care
  • Social Care Institute for Excellence
  • The Care Workers’ Charity
  • Think Local Act Personal
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Ulster.

The co-development phase of the centre will run from April 2021 until January 2022. Subject to  formal reviews, the Centre will receive phased funding until 2027 with equal contributions from ESRC and the Health Foundation. The Centre has been funded by ESRC through UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).

Further information

Contact details

Centre Director and team: impactcentre@contacts.bham.ac.uk
ESRC and the Health Foundation: esrcsocialcare@esrc.ukri.org

Innovation in Social Care 2019 - 2024

Collaborative grants awarded in 2019 to four social science-led research projects focusing on innovation in social care and how it leads to improvements in people’s lives. These projects reflect the reality of how social care is experienced by care recipients and their friends and families, providers, funders and care professionals, as well as exploring the relationships between those involved.

A summary of the four projects, links to their websites and contact details can be found below.

Professor Jane Callaghan, University of Stirling

Developing the evidence base for innovation in social care for children and families affected by domestic abuse.
The research will contribute to the evidence of what works in support of children who experience domestic abuse, and will also provide an understanding of how other organisations in the UK and internationally might adapt and implement similar services effectively.
Website: Children and families affected by domestic abuse
Email: jane.callaghan@stir.ac.uk

Professor Graeme Currie, University of Warwick

Exploring innovations in transition to adulthood.
The purpose of this research is to investigate and build an evidence base for innovation in services and processes designed to improve outcomes for care leavers.
Website: University of Warwick
Email: graeme.currie@wbs.ac.uk

Professor Michelle Lefevre, University of Sussex

Improving social care systems and practices for safeguarding young people at complex risk: what promotes and sustains innovation?
The project will inform the development of future innovation, both in complex safeguarding and in social care and public services more broadly.
Website: The Innovate Project
Email: m.lefevre@sussex.ac.uk

Dr Juliette Malley, London School of Economics and Political Science

Supporting adult social care innovation.
The aim of this research is to support the adult social care sector to start up, implement, spread and scale-up affordable innovations that work well for all adults needing care.
Website: Supporting Adult Social Care Innovation
Email: sasci@lse.ac.uk

Sustainable Care: Connecting People and Systems 2017 - 2021

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

The Sustainable Care Research Programme is a multi-disciplinary ESRC-funded programme (2017-2021) exploring how care arrangements can be made sustainable and deliver wellbeing outcomes. It aims to support those working in policy, practice and academia to conceptualise sustainability in care as an issue of rights, values, ethics and justice, as well as of resource distribution.

The team comprises researchers at seven universities, linked to policy and practice partners and an international network spanning fifteen countries and twenty-six research institutions. The study will provide 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.

Further information can be found at the Sustainable Care website
Email: circle@sheffield.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)114 222 8369