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Kingston University receives major funding award to increase social care research capacity

Posted Wednesday 13 March 2024

Kingston University receives major funding award to increase social care research capacity The funding from the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) will allow South London to build its social care research capacity.

Kingston University has been awarded a significant grant by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) to build social care research capacity.

The two-year project, commencing in April will be led by Professor of Occupational Therapy and Head of the Graduate Research School at Kingston University Professor Cilla Harries. She led the successful £245,000 bid as the Clinical and Practitioner Academic Training lead for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London. ARC South London is a research organisation bringing together researchers, health and social care practitioners and local people to improve health and social care in south London.

The new scheme, entitled the Social Health and Research Empowerment programme (SHARE), will aim to create a highly personalised, flexible, research capacity building programme for social care practitioners to develop their research skills. The project will have a particular focus on supporting applicants from ethnic minorities and marginalised groups who may have less access to continuing professional development, as well as those working in areas of social deprivation and with underserved communities.

As well as building research capacity, the project will also increase capability in social care practice, management and leadership, support the use of and development of research within the sector, improve research culture and infrastructure in adult and children's social care practice and promote equality, diversity and inclusion – particularly health, social care and race equality. The scheme is open to applicants employed by a local authority, care provider or non-profit social care organisation in South London, with all seniority levels from practitioners to commissioners or managers eligible to apply.

Successful applicants will have access to workshops and a comprehensive continuous professional development research capacity building programme. This will include mentorship and advice drop-in clinics, research skills training, peer learning, opportunities to shadow a social care project or contribute to research relevant to practice, either within their own organisation or as part of an academic team. Those selected will be encouraged to build closer links with social care, research-active practitioners, and the ARC South London to develop future research opportunities.

Professor Harries will be supported by social work expert at Kingston Dr Maria Brent, who will be working as postdoctoral researcher, and Senior Research Fellow from King's College London, Caroline Norrie. Emerita Professor of Health and Social Care at Kingston University, Fiona Ross will chair the Expert Steering Committee, featuring Professor Rick Hood and Dr Melania Calestani from Kingston's School of Education, Midwifery and Social Work, for the project.

Professor Harries said the funding would allow the opportunity to enhance the research undertaken in such a vital area. "This funding programme will enable social care practitioners in South London to develop research skills and research projects focusing on areas of social deprivation and diversity. Findings from studies will be used to improve provision of social care in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, people who receive care and their carers," she said.

Those interested in applying should contact Dr Brent on

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