A team of researchers from the University of Hertfordshire has been awarded funding of almost £1million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to build research capacity in adult social care services across Hertfordshire and Norfolk.
Over one million adults in the UK receive personal and practical care and assistance from social care for a wide range of reasons, including critical support for age-related issues, health conditions and disabilities.
Led by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the University of East Anglia, the project will pave the way for more social care practitioners to undertake relevant research, which can be embedded into their practice to inform and improve quality of care.
In partnership with Hertfordshire and Norfolk County Councils, the three-year initiative will see the researchers create four new Social Care Research in Practice Teams (SCRiPT). Each team member will receive funding to develop their research skills and confidence, and design and implement new research projects to advance social care in the region.
One of six similar schemes across England funded by the NIHR, the project also provides more opportunities for collaboration between social care practitioners in Hertfordshire and Norfolk. Participants will benefit from opportunities to share skills and best practices with colleagues from a range of areas of social care.
Kathryn Almack, Professor of Health, Young People and Family Lives and joint project lead at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding that will enable us to significantly raise the profile of research within the field of adult social care. It is fantastic to have investment from the NIHR and backing from senior figures in Hertfordshire and Norfolk County Councils.
“Practitioner-led research has long been seen as a vital resource in healthcare, and I am very pleased to see its value being recognised in social care too. This funding will help us to upskill and empower staff, creating time and space for tailored research projects that directly contribute to better care for vulnerable adults across the region.”
Tanya Moore, Principal Social Worker in Adult Care Services at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “‘Practitioners have a great deal to offer research so it’s great to see this project being so thoroughly embedded in practice”.