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The role of
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The NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) social care call seeks research proposals that address the challenges and aim to improve the evidence base for adult social care (including the transition from children’s to adult services). PDGs are available to carry out preparatory work to develop a future Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) research application on adult social care. They can also be obtained to further develop an existing or ongoing programme of research to explore social care perspectives arising from the programme.

Applications to the PDG social care call should be made with the support of an NHS body or other provider of NHS services in England. If an application is successful, a contract will be placed with that organisation for delivery of the research. All funds for the research will be paid to the NHS organisation or other provider of NHS services to administer and distribute to the collaborating organisations.

Deadline for proposals: 24 November 2021

Find out more here.

NIHR RfSC research is expected to have a high degree of involvement from relevant users of social care and social care practitioners throughout the research.

RfSC welcomes high quality proposals from researchers and practitioners which are focused on:

  • Social care needs and relevant outcomes (which could be quality of life, social or health care related, as appropriate to the study, population etc.)
  • Developing a more robust evidence base for current ways of working
  • Developing and evaluating new ways of delivering social care
  • Secondary data analysis, record linkage and reviews
  • Research methods development
  • Care users’ and carers’ circumstances and needs
  • Those who deliver social care including unpaid carers and the staff and professionals involved in the delivery of social care e.g. social workers.

Applicants considering submitting a Stage 1 application should consider submitting an outline of their proposal for guidance before official submission. This can be done using the pre-submission form. This is non-mandatory and purely aimed at helping potential applicants to engage with the requirements of the call (e.g. eligibility and remit). For other questions, contact

Submission deadline for application is 1pm on 19 January 2022.

For more details please click here 

This session will provide information on:

  • details of the Research for Patient Benefit programme
  • views from a successful RfPB applicant
  • the application process and what funders are looking for in a submission
  • the support the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) can provide in the preparation of your application
  • advice about Patient and Public Involvement (PPI).

Who should attend

This event is aimed at researchers in the NHS, public health and social care, as well as academics from universities across England.

Informal drop-in sessions

If you would like an initial informal chat with an RDS adviser, who will provide initial guidance and information on how the Research Design Service can help with your proposal development to RfPB, we are offering drop-in sessions after the event from 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm. Please indicate on the registration form whether you would like to book a slot.


10.00 am          Welcome and introduction

Prof Fiona Lobban, Associate Director, RDS NW

10.10 am          An introduction to the RfPB programme and top tips for applying

Dr Christina Jones, RfPB panel member

10.30 am          The experience of a successful applicant to RfPB

Dr Peter Taylor, University of Manchester

10.50 am          Questions and answer session with the presenters

11.10 am          Break

11.20 am          How RDS can help you with your mental health research RfPB application

Dr Kenny Finlayson, Adviser, RDS NW

11.40 am          Importance of patient and public involvement in mental health research, including the RDS NW Public Involvement Fund and Public Involvement

Dr Hazel Morbey, Specialist Public Involvement Adviser, RDS NW

Chris Lodge, Service User Researcher, Lancaster University

12.00 noon     Questions and answer session with the presenters

12.20 pm          Summary and final questions

12.30 pm          End of session

Download a PDF of the programme here.


To attend this event, please register here.

Call summary

  • This RfSC call is an important part of the Department of Health and Social Care and NIHR’s ongoing interest in strengthening dementia research in less well-supported areas, better understanding the needs of underserved populations and social care needs, as well as identifying best practice in relation to critical points, including diagnosis, hospitalisation, residential care and end-of-life care.
  • The Research for Social Care (RfSC) call, is inviting proposals from eligible research teams to improve the evidence base around social care and dementia
  • This call offers researchers considerable flexibility to focus on any subject area or topic providing that it falls within RfSC’s dementia remit.
  • This call is open to researchers at all career stages, and standard RfSC eligibility rules and criteria will apply. In particular we are looking for researchers from a wide selection of backgrounds, and early career researchers are especially welcomed.
  • The call is for proposals up to £350,000 for a period of up to 36 months with projects needing to commence between 1 September 2022 and 1 March 2023. 
  • Applications are expected to have strong involvement and collaboration with organisations that are responsible for delivering social care and related social care services, for example local authorities and third sector, where appropriate. Applicants may wish to consult the NIHR guidance on co-producing research.

Closes: 13:00 on 19 October 2021

For further information visit website

Title: Engaging care home residents in research: identification of barriers and facilitators and the development of an intervention to support residents in decision-making and advance planning for research (ENGAGE)

Start date: October 2021

Application deadline: 23 August 2021

For details on this studentship and the application form click here

Dr Vicky Shepherd, Research Fellow at Cardiff University is one of the supervisors on this project and is happy to have an informal chat and answer any questions. Her email address is:

“As part of the NIHR School for Social Care Research’s commitment to developing research capacity in adult social care, we are inviting Stage 1 applications for Developing Research Leaders Awards.

With support from the NIHR Academy, we are seeking high-quality applications from individuals to develop their careers as research leaders in adult social care research in England. Applicants can request funding of up to £50,000.

The Developing Research Leaders Award (DRLA) Scheme aims to address the need to support individuals at a more advanced level in their research careers by providing tailored and targeted support to develop further as the next leaders for adult social care research. This is particularly where individuals would benefit from resources to help them to accelerate their progression.

The deadline for Stage 1 applications is 16.30 on Thursday 3 June 2021. Applicants are asked to submit an Intention to Submit by 16.30 on Thursday 20 May 2021.”

For more details please click here 

“Applicants will need to make a strong case to the School for the proposed plan for their career development with a clear commitment to establishing a long-term career in adult social care research, including the organisational support they will receive, any training they will undertake as part of their workplan, and how this package will help them take the next steps in their research career or develop their research capacity.

The School will consider awards of up to 32 months in duration. Awards must finish no later than 28 February 2024.

Funding is available for awards of up to £50,000 per applicant.

Applications received by 16.30 on Wednesday 2 June 2021 will be considered by the Capacity-Building Management Team of NIHR SSCR Executive Group.

Applicants are asked to submit an Expression of Interest by 16.30 on Wednesday 12 May 2021.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought with it many challenges, but few have been as striking as those facing care homes. Working in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, THIS Institute is seeking to appoint a fellow to lead a study aimed at co-producing a vision for high quality primary care for people who live in care homes and a theory of change for how it might be achieved within current structures and resources.

The successful applicant will remain employed by their own university or organisation, and will be part of a vibrant professional learning community supported by THIS Institute. The fellowship should be completed in 12-15 months, and can be undertaken full-time or part-time (minimum 0.6 FTE). It is expected that the fellowship will begin during Spring 2021.”

Application deadline 22 January 2021


To find out more about this opportunity click here

Two opportunities are currently being advertised:

“Opportunity 1

Expressions of interest are invited from senior social care colleagues who are interested in developing social care research in the region.  This one-year post will enable a senior social care colleague to undertake one session (one half day) per week of dedicated research activity.  You will work closely with other members of the project including, an academic colleague from the University of Lincoln (CRN speciality lead for Health Services Research), a fixed term Research Associate, the CRN East Midlands and relevant stakeholders.

The main focus of the post is to understand the research agenda within social care, identify key research priorities and consider how they can translate into NIHR CRN portfolio research.  The role will facilitate connections between academic partners and relevant stakeholders, leading to the development of a network of stakeholders.

Click here for details on submitting an expression of interest.

Opportunity 2

Applicants are invited for a Research Associate for a period of one year to contribute to the development of the social care research culture and research capacity in the area.

Working closely with colleagues from the University of Lincoln and the CRN, the post holder will contribute to a shift change in the priority given to social care research and the achievement of funded research within the region.  The post holder will develop an understanding of the landscape of social care in Lincolnshire and establish a group of key stakeholders who will contribute to the development of social care research awareness and potential research priorities. In order to improve capacity for driving research developments in agreed priority areas the post holder will network and collaborate with social care providers, academic partners and research forums and organisations within the region.”

For more information click here

If any of our ENRICH homes are interested in finding out more, please contact Mo Ray ( for an informal discussion – this is a wonderful opportunity to help shape social care research in our area.

The National Institute for Health Research are funding exciting new pre-doctoral opportunities for Local Authority and LA commissioned service based individuals.

“This pilot scheme is being designed, alongside a companion pre-doctoral fellowship scheme, to support individuals based in local authorities or local authority commissioned services to develop as health and/or social care researchers.
The scheme will fund individuals of any profession to obtain a PhD by research whilst concurrently developing their professional skills within their existing employment.
Although full details have yet to be formalised, this scheme will be fully salaried and mirror the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme’s doctoral scheme. Prospective applicants should refer to the applicant guidance documentation for that scheme in the interim, ignoring the ICA specific eligibility criteria that pertain to professional status and clinical (as opposed to broader professional) practice.
Eligibility for support will be dependent on a proposal that includes a partnership with, or employment by, a local authority or local authority commissioned service.
This new funding represents a completely new and exciting opportunity for all individuals based within local authorities or local authority commissioned services, but especially for those without social worker or clinician status. Local authority associated clinicians and social workers are welcome to apply for support from this focussed scheme or from the ICA Programme, but cannot apply to both concurrently.”

Indicative timescales

Application forms available: 1 March 2021
Deadline for application submission: Late April 2021
Award uptake by successful applicants: From 1 April 2022
For more information click here