NIHR changes name to emphasise long-term commitment to social care research

NIHR changes name to emphasise long-term commitment to social care research

Today the National Institute for Health Research – which funds the School for Social Care Research – has changed its name.

To emphasise its ongoing commitment to social care research, the NIHR is now officially the ‘National Institute for Health and Care Research’. The acronym ‘NIHR’ will remain unchanged.

Since its establishment in 2006, the NIHR has invested over £200m in more than 470 social care research projects across its portfolio, with £90m worth of NIHR-funded social care studies starting in the last three years. Of these, over a third have been funded through the School.

We are delighted with this development in recognition of the NIHR’s commitment to building an extensive evidence base to improve practice in England, and building research capacity within research and the social care sector.

In announcing the name change, NIHR has set out a range of investments and commitments to future work:

  • An increase in spending of £5m a year has been dedicated to social care research, including additional funding for the Research for Social Care programme;
  • A commitment to fund much-needed research in the area of social care for children and young people, working in partnership with the Department for Education;
  • Launch of a ‘Social Care Rapid Evaluation’ funding call through the Health and Social Care Delivery Research Programme designed to fund new teams to deliver rapid reviews of promising social care innovations identified by the social care sector;
  • Funding for a joint call by the NIHR and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council focused on transforming care and health at home and enabling independence to be announced next week; and
  • The NIHR’s Health Technology Assessment programme is establishing a social care prioritisation committee with wide representation from social care practice, people with lived experience and others.

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of SSCR, said:

“NIHR’s commitment to social care research included establishing the School for Social Care Research in 2009. The School has commissioned over a third of the social care research studies funded by NIHR since 2006. But NIHR’s continuing commitment to SSCR is just part of a wider push to encourage and support research in this area.

The name change is an excellent development, not least to reflect the strides it has been making in recent years to broaden and deepen social care activity across NIHR. The additional investments being announced today will support vital research to improve the lives of people drawing on care and support and of carers.

This is not a case of just adding the words ‘and social care’ every time an NIHR call or initiative mentions health research. NIHR is investing in research skills and researchers, as well as making sure that commissioning panels and reviewers include people with social care expertise. It is about helping local authorities and social care providers to be ‘research-ready’ – indeed to be ‘research-hungry’. As the leading funder of social care research, NIHR has an enormous amount to contribute.

I would encourage you to look through NIHR’s growing opportunities to undertake and get involved in social care research.”

Prof. Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said:

“At NIHR, we believe that funding and supporting research that expands and strengthens the way that social care is provided is one of the most important ways to improve standards of care for people who need it. We want to support the incredible work being done on the ground by both paid and unpaid carers.

“This name change is more than symbolic. Our history of investment in social care research already tells a strong story, and today’s concrete plans to further fund and support such research is a clear affirmation of our commitment to this vital part of the health and care sector”.

The NIHR is calling on researchers, social care practitioners and users of social care services to undertake and get involved with social care research that identifies and addresses current challenges to improve the lives of carers and people receiving social care.

Find out more at the NIHR website.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

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