Urgent questions about how England should care for the 1.8 million adults in social care will start to get better answers from today with the opening of the School for Social Care Research.
With a budget of £15 million over the next five years, the School will lead research in the field, all of it aimed at improving services to improve people's lives.
It is a collaboration between five universities, led by Professor Martin Knapp at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) who is Director of the new school. The other universities involved are the University of Kent, King's College, London, Manchester University and the University of York. The school is funded by the Government's National Institute for Health Research.
Among the questions the school will try to answer are how users of care services can be given more control and greater choice, how unpaid carers can find a better balance with their working lives, whether there are better ways of commissioning services and whether social care meshes effectively with health care and other services.
Professor Knapp, who is also Director of LSE's Personal Social Services Research Unit, said: 'It's an exciting venture and one which matters more than ever because of the dramatic changes in our population, people's rising expectations, the nature of care and the increasing cost of providing it.
'I hope we'll be able to not only set the highest standards of research but also make sure that our findings affect the real world and address the questions to which the public want answers. Our mission is to improve care and improve people's lives.'
Although the school is a collaboration between five universities it will also commission research from other institutions and companies.
One of its first tasks will be to carry out a public consultation to help define the areas it should investigate.
To find out more about the School for Social Care Research visit its website at www.lse.ac.uk/collections/nihrsscr or call 020 7955 6225.
For more information or to interview Professor Martin Knapp contact LSE Press Office on 020 7955 7440
1 May 2009