Major NIHR grant for social care research at Lancaster


Professor Chris Hatton of Lancaster University has been awarded £350,000 for research into social care for adults with disabilities.

The funding is from the National Institute for Health Research’s Research for Patient Benefit programme.

Chris Hatton is Professor of Public Health and Disability at Lancaster University’s Centre for Disability Research.

He said: “Many people with disabilities often live in residential facilities or in supported living. Many want to be more independent, but it is not clear what support is most cost-effective and which is best for these adults.”

He wants to find out more about the quality and costs of these two types of support, by talking to adults with learning disabilities and their families and working with different service providers in England.

His research aims to gather information and evidence to help healthcare commissioners provide services, and help families lobby for the best support.

So far NIHR’s Research for Patient Benefit programme (RfPB) has funded £2.5 million of new research into social care, bolstering the organisation’s commitment to improving social care through high quality evidence and building capacity for research in this field.

The funding is part of NIHR’s ongoing efforts to build and improve social care research in England. In November 2018 the organisation announced that it will fund a third phase of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, with just under £20 million committed over 5 years. This includes £1.8 million specifically targeted on building research capacity, with PhDs, career development awards and internships planned.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: “Social care research has the power to transform people's lives by building our knowledge of which types of care best support our health, happiness and independence. The NIHR's investment in innovation will help create a sustainable social care system for the benefit of everyone - from older people to unpaid carers to those with learning disabilities of any age.

"There are some fantastic projects already underway, and I'm looking forward to seeing what brilliant ideas are brought forward in this annual funding call, which will significantly boost social care research in this country."

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, said: “NIHR is investing in research skills and researchers, as well as working with local authorities and social care providers. As the leading funder of social care research, NIHR has an enormous amount to contribute.”

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