Social Care Action Fund

Our partnership with leading UK autism research charity Autistica on the newly-launched Social Care Action Fund, seeks to find evidence-based improvements to the social care provision for autistic adults.

Research shows that autistic people often face poor mental and physical health throughout their lives, much higher rates of early death, one of the highest rates of unemployment in society and limited social inclusion, but despite often having a high level of support needs, in particular autistic people who also have a learning disability, there has been a historic under-investment in autism social care research.

Over three years, the Social Care Action Fund will proceed in two annual stages:

1. Autistica will run an annual call for Grant Development Awards designed to provide researchers with seed funding to develop their proposals for further funding, totalling up to £100,000 in funding.

2. Autistica will support the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) annual Research for Social Care Call for proposals by providing a total of up to £500,000 in additional top-up funding to up to five social care research studies focused on autistic adults.

"Rory is in supported living, but we are still very involved with his care because of the disjointed nature of the services provided by different organisations and agencies. When there is continuity and he has carers who are well-trained, caring and who understand his needs, it makes a world of difference to him, and to us."
Sue, the mother of a young person in care

Following the NIHR’s own criteria, the research studies funded as part of this programme will focus on one of the below areas:

  • Social care needs and relevant outcomes (which could be quality of life, social or health care related, as appropriate to the study or its population)
  • Developing a more robust evidence base for current ways of working
  • Developing and evaluating new ways of delivering social care
  • Secondary data analysis, record linkage and reviews
  • Research methods development
  • Care users’ and carers’ circumstances and needs
  • Those who deliver social care, including unpaid carers and the staff and professionals involved in the delivery of social care (e.g., social workers)

Autistica staff members will help researchers develop their ideas and studies with seed funding and will support them to involve autistic people in their research.

In addition, the Foundation will provide researchers with care sector expertise and insights through CareTech PLC staff involvement, workshop site visits to CareTech PLC locations, recruitment of participants for studies, and will help ensure the Social Care Action Fund has a tangible impact on social care practice.

The Social Care Action Fund, supported by Autistica’s reputation and track record for funding research that leads to tangible outcomes, paired with the NIHR’s robust and world-leading peer review process, will ensure only the highest quality projects most likely to have a practical impact are funded as part of the Social Care Action Fund.

To apply and find out more about the Fund, including how to submit proposals for funding, click here.