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9 Feb 2024

New Social Care Research Fellowships now open for application

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The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC) invites applications for a number of new social care focussed fellowships.

The posts are funded by the National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR) through the ARC NENC as part of an investment in social care, and are subject to final confirmation of funding from NIHR.

This is an ideal opportunity for individuals who would like to develop research in the topic area of social care, and is open to practitioners or researchers with an interest in social care.

The posts will focus on the following cross-cutting areas:

  • Accelerating progress in digital social care
  • Improved transitions between services
  • Addressing post-pandemic social care needs
  • Understanding service user and carer experiences of social care

The posts will be hosted by one of our seven research themes and your application should link to one or more of these. Find out more about our research themes.

The successful applicants will join a significant national cohort of social care researchers from across all 15 Applied Research Collaborations. They will also join a vibrant regional community of research fellows within the ARC North East and North Cumbria.

We are keen to receive applications from a range of disciplines across health and social care including social work, allied health professionals, community and creative arts, engineering, data science, neuroscience, and clinicians who can make innovative and impactful contributions to social care.

This includes those working in community settings, health and social care settings, arts and culture organisations, voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, research institutes, local authorities and industry.

If you are applying as a practitioner and would like to continue in your current role, you should gain permission from your employer before applying.  We are happy to support flexible working arrangements.

Application details are below. Applications close on Friday 15 March 2024.

Interview date is to be confirmed, and posts will need to start by May 2024.

Please note: Due to funder restrictions all fellowships must be complete by March 2026.

Further details

We are looking to fund up to two full-time equivalent Social Care Research Fellows.

You can apply for either a part-time or full-time position.

Salary:  0.5-1.0 FTE of your current salary subject to funding restrictions.
Please note we can’t pay any employer overhead costs.

Duration:  1-2 years with a maximum end date of March 2026.

The minimum fellowship is 1 year part-time.

Closing date: 15 March 2024

Interview date: To be arranged

Start date: April – May 2024

Contact email for enquiries: [email protected]

Person Specification and further details

  • You should be a practitioner or researcher, from any discipline or professional background; however, an interest in undertaking applied social care research is essential.
  • You will be expected to develop your own research programme in social care as well as work with colleagues on existing research programmes, write for publication, and present at meetings and conferences. You will work across other ARC themes and play an active role in the national cohort of fellows and with colleagues across the North East and Cumbria.
  • You will be supported by academic mentors from across our six university partners and work closely with our network of fellows. Our structured mentorship approach enables additional opportunities to work alongside colleagues in research environments and develop your career.
  • You should identify an academic mentor from one of our six academic partners in the North East and North Cumbria who you will work alongside during your fellowship (a contract of employment at an academic institution is not required).

You will need to discuss with your employer to determine what time contribution and duration is possible, before you apply.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge and experience of leading qualitative and/or quantitative research work or an interest in developing this skill set
  • Interest in developing research in the area of social care
  • Evidence of successfully working across several projects or complex project components at one time
  • An interest in publishing outputs from your work or experience leading peer reviewed publications
  • Evidence of ability to work independently and co-operatively with others
  • Experience of collaborative working across multi-professional teams
  • The ability to communicate well to a wide range of audiences using a range of presentation approaches
  • Be able to work flexibly with regard to hours of work including occasional evenings, and travel across the region and nationally
  • To have relevant IT skills
  • Ability to use initiative, prioritise and show a creative approach to problem solving
  • Project management experience
  • Knowledge of health and social care policy relating to health and health inequalities and social care.
  • Experience of preparing funding proposals for submission to competitive funding organisations (e.g., NIHR, research councils) (Desirable)
  • Experience of supervising student projects (Desirable)
  • Experience of conducting systematic literature reviews (Desirable)
  • Experience of public involvement and engagement in research (Desirable)

Attributes and Behaviours

  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team
  • Ability to work flexibly and cooperatively with others
  • Excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality


  • Undergraduate qualification in a relevant subject including (but not limited to) social work, health, applied/health services/social care research, (clinical/health) psychology, data science, creative arts, public health, applied statistics or similar. (essential)
  • Have a Masters degree or doctoral qualification in a relevant subject (Desirable)

How do I apply?

To apply, please send your CV to [email protected] and a covering letter (max. 3 pages) which briefly describes:

  • Your proposed area of social care research.
    Please describe your interest in this research area including any relevant research undertaken.
  • How your proposed research addresses our core areas (you can focus this on one or several of these topics): Accelerating progress in digital social care; Improved transitions between services; Addressing post-pandemic social care needs; Understanding service user and carer experiences of social care.
  • How you will involve members of the public and relevant communities in your research. Further information and support about public involvement and community engagement is available here.
  • How you will involve relevant organisations in your research
  • How you will build networks with the cohort of social care fellows
  • Your future research or career plans and how this fellowship will support your goals
  • Your proposed time commitment (minimum 0.5 FTE)
  • Your proposed duration
  • Details of your current salary and a costing detailing this over the two-year duration of the fellowship. Please note we are unable to pay any indirect costs or overheads.

Additional details

The NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria is hosted by the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Foundation Trust, but you will not be employed or paid by CNTW NHS Foundation Trust.

If you are successful in being awarded a fellowship, we will arrange for an award letter and funds to be transferred to your employing organisation to cover your salary costs.

More about the areas of research focus

  • Accelerating progress in digital social care is key to the DHSC social care transformation plans. New capacity will allow us to enhance ongoing work to improve the quality of social care data, supporting better integration with NHS datasets, and exploring the potential of using technology to enable people to live independently for longer.
  • Improved transitions between services: inconsistent and fragmented service provision has an adverse impact on experiences and outcomes of care, contributing to poor mental and physical health in children, adults and across family networks.
  • Addressing post-pandemic social care needs: rates of anxiety depression and other mental health conditions and concerns about declining school attendance and school readiness have increased since 2020. Addressing this ‘parallel pandemic’ to ensure more equitable outcomes for our most vulnerable residents is a priority.
  • Understanding service user and carer experiences of social care: particularly in underserved groups. Specific evidence gaps concern: experiences of going through a Special Guardianship Order; foster carers; access to cultural experiences amongst children in care; and contextual safeguarding.

Download the role description and application information