We are seeking high-quality proposals that aim to address key issues at the intersection of housing, social care and health, which specifically focus on one or both of these:
- transforming care and health at home
- enabling independence.
Definitions of the terms in this funding opportunity
We are taking a fairly broad interpretation of the meaning of home to include any home residential setting, including:
- private residence
- care and nursing home
- sheltered accommodation
- provided housing.
The focus of this funding opportunity is geared towards:
- preventative health and social care, rather than the provision of clinical interventions
- how the home environment can best support care and maintain health for individuals.
Thus, there is a strong focus on health maintenance and self-management in such a way as to enhance independence. Independence in this sense is about quality of life for individuals and families and supporting people to be able to live the life they want to and take part in activities that are meaningful for them.
We expect proposals to focus on one or more of the following themes.
Maintaining independence at home
You can focus on:
- adaptations of existing homes
- development, acceptability and user-friendly design of these technologies:
- self-care apps
- smart devices
- innovations in:
- assistive technology
- artificial intelligence
- evaluation of innovative models of housing and domiciliary or community care.
Maintaining health within the home
You can focus on:
- providing thermal comfort
- adequate ventilation
- noise protection
- sufficient space.
Enabling care readiness
You can focus on:
- innovative design of new buildings
- integration of technologies (beyond interventions in individual homes)
- facilitation of community building through design
- architecture for healthier living
- models of housing and care
- promotion of community wellbeing.
Enabling informed decisions on housing and care choices
You could, for example, focus on the design of new tools and analysis or collection of data that helps:
- support better decision making for end users
- provide in-depth analysis, monitoring and visualisation of data
- support the delivery of health and social care services in the community.
We have highlighted five cross-cutting challenges that should be addressed through this opportunity. All applicants should consider these as part of their application. We do not expect all applications to cover all five cross-cutting themes, although some may well do. These include:
- creating network opportunities to help foster multidisciplinary working, including supporting co-production where relevant, and strong patient and public involvement (PPI)
- creating research opportunities that seek to understand and address the needs of a diverse range of different groups and communities, particularly those traditionally under-served by research
- ensuring the needs of users are embedded in the heart of any research activity from the outset
- exploring a wide range of technological developments in terms of:
- retrofitting solutions
- prompting behavioural change
- prolonging independence
- facilitating health and wellbeing
- considering the ethical implications of any technological developments in the field, especially with respect to:
- the collection and use of data
- regulatory approval
- evidence of acceptability.
Technology readiness levels
Proposals generally need to relate to technology readiness levels levels one to three.
Proposals that use existing engineering and physical sciences for a novel application that requires validation in a home setting, for example, may be in scope. However the proposal must clearly demonstrate how the research meets one of the core themes, and addresses the cross-cutting challenges identified.
Approaches we encourage
Proposals that strongly support co-creation with multiple stakeholders, including proactively seeking patient and public representatives, are particularly encouraged.
We also encourage proposals that:
- specifically focus on technological developments that support a diverse range of needs for end users and their communities
- consider the ethical implications of any technological changes that are suggested in terms of:
- the collection and use of data
- regulatory approval
- evidence of acceptability.
Public and patient involvement and engagement
You must consider PPIE perspectives at all stages of a research project – whether this is at the initial or end stage. We encourage consultation with PPIE representatives even in the early stages of development.
All proposals should demonstrate consideration of the intended audiences and end users of the outputs being produced.
We expect that a range of different types of output will be required to ensure that evidence is available and useful to policy makers, commissioners and service users, as well as academic communities.
We expect a number of projects that are funded through this funding opportunity to generate evidence to support decision making for local authorities to improve health within their local populations, or across multiple local authorities, and reduce health inequalities.
This funding opportunity will fund three different types of grants.
These grants aim to bring those from research, local authorities, the social care sector, and industry, alongside end users to undertake a variety of activities. This can include:
- feasibility studies
- horizon scanning.
The activities are intended to build and develop collaborations and undertake small point of care or feasibility studies to prepare for future research applications.
Networks funded by the NetworkPlus scheme should aim to use a multidisciplinary approach and form an agenda for future research in the area. It is essential that patient, public and user engagement is considered in the wider network membership. Network activities should be UK-wide and should involve a broad range of disciplines and include non-academic stakeholders from relevant sectors, such as:
- the housing and social care sector
- the NHS
- local authorities.
We expect NetworkPlus grants to fund different scales of feasibility studies that are appropriate for different research topics or disciplines.
We will award both directly incurred and directly allocated expenditure under the heading of ‘flexible funds’. We will also nominate a project officer to be your primary point of contact for the NetworkPlus grant. Please contact us for more information on these additional grant conditions for NetworkPlus grants.
We welcome proposals that focus on the social care, economic or health impacts of housing, and can include:
- research on existing housing stock
- models of care and housing
- new and existing technologies
- housing inequity in relation to social care or health
- integration of health, social care and community services
- long-term housing support, including affordability and design considerations.
We particularly encourage research that:
- enables independent living, especially for individuals with a diverse range of needs and of differing demographics
- addresses housing and social care inequities, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- focuses on intergenerational housing studies.
We expect proposals to ensure any evidence that is produced is disseminated in such a way that is useful and accessible for end users. These grants are intended to:
- stimulate research already in the pipeline or build on existing feasibility or pilot work
- encourage the development of a strong evidence base in these areas.
These can be:
- for pilot or feasibility research studies
- to support the synthesis, dissemination or mobilisation of existing evidence, or more than one of these
- evaluation of innovative initiatives in the area.
We also encourage proposals that focus on the collection of existing data sets with the purpose of forming a single, possibly national, data repository.
This funding opportunity is in partnership with the NIHR, who will be co-funding proposals.
Successful proposals will be funded at 80% of full economic cost. Applications should not exceed £1.5 million 100% full economic cost. We will not be awarding above this limit for any of the three grant types.
The following figures are indicative only:
- NetworkPlus grants (less than £1.5 million, 100% full economic cost)
- research grants (more than £500,000, 100% full economic cost)
- small grants (less than £499,999, 100% full economic cost).
Each proposal will have its own research needs depending on the type of research carried out and the research questions being addressed. You only need to ensure that any values proposed are reflective of those needs. Value for money is one of the success criteria the panel will be scoring applications against.
The applicant can request funding for anything that is eligible as detailed in the EPSRC funding guide.
Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading. Read more information on equipment funding.
EPSRC will pay the research costs associated with the NHS component of a proposal, however NHS support and NHS treatment costs will not be covered. Read the guidance on NHS costs.
PPIE costs be included under ‘directly incurred costs’. For more information on resources that are eligible, see the patients and the public stakeholder engagement webpage.
Your project can last up to three years. We expect small grants to last 18 to 24 months.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
The long-term strength of the UK research base depends on harnessing all the available talent. EPSRC expects that equality and diversity is embedded at all levels and in all aspects of research practice and funding policy.
We are committed to supporting the research community, offering a range of flexible options which allow applicants to design a package that fits their research goals, career and personal circumstances. This includes:
- career breaks
- support for people with caring responsibilities
- flexible working
- alternative working patterns.
With this in mind, we welcome applications from academics who job share, have a part-time contract, or need flexible working arrangements. Peer review is central to EPSRC funding decisions. We require expert advice and robust decision-making processes for all EPSRC funding initiatives. We are committed to ensuring that fairness is fully reflected in all our funding processes by advancing policy which supports equality, diversity and inclusion.
For more information see EPSRC’s equality and diversity web pages.
EPSRC is fully committed to developing and promoting responsible innovation.
Research has the ability to produce not only understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations. We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise.
Therefore applicants are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.
Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for information and advice on how to get the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.
Guidance on journal-based metrics
As part of our commitment to support the recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), UKRI reviewers and panel members are advised not to use journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an investigator’s contributions, or to make funding decisions.
The content of a paper is more important than publication metrics, or the identity of the journal, in which it was published, especially for early-stage researchers. Reviewers and panel members are encouraged to consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets, software, inventions, patents, preprints, other commercial activities, and so on) in addition to research publications.
We advise our peer reviewers and panel members to consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.