1 Nov 2022

The Your path in Research campaign aims to encourage organisations and staff in social care and public health to play an active role in research as a way to deliver better services to the public.

The NIHR funds career and development awards and provides career support and advice for those new to research. To support the campaign we asked two social care researchers what led them to a career in social care research and why they think it is important for social care staff to take part in research.

 

Monica Leverton

Monica Leverton

My interest in dementia research began when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 90. My mother and I helped her to remain living at home but eventually neded to bring in homecare support as her needs progressed

At the time, we knew very little about how to support someone to live with dementia, but eventually we connected with the most fantastic care worker who always brought a smile to my grandmother’s face. I continue to focus my research on shining light on the value of relationships between care workers and people living with dementia.

More and more research is giving focus to social care, but we need to be collaborating with, and learning from those working in social care to make sure research priorities, findings and outputs are useful and relevant to practice

Monica Leverton

Dr Monica Leverton, research associate, King's College London

Having personal experience supporting a relative with dementia gave me the motivation and inspiration to ensure my work is meaningful and has real world impact. People working in clinical mental health roles will have a similar connection to those they support which is a great asset to research and should be encouraged.

Monica’s research focuses on developing the role of dementia champions in the homecare sector. Read about Monica’s research

Caroline Green

Caroline Emmer De Albuquerque Green

My early career goal was to be part of an international movement to improve the human rights situation of marginalised or discriminated groups of people, but after my undergraduate degree I was not quite sure how to go about achieving it.

I started a career in international development and humanitarian aid, working on German government-funded human rights projects in Bangladesh and other countries. But I did not feel like I was able to spend enough time to hear the stories or understand the realities of the people whose lives I wanted to influence positively within these jobs.

People working in social care provide first hand insight to the realities of social care, something that enriches research immensely and promises higher impact in practice. A research career can help people working in social care to open up new possibilities and exciting prospects for diverse roles in social care and beyond.

Caroline Green

Dr Caroline Emmer De Albuquerque Green, research associate, King's College London

I then moved into investigative journalism and but again, I felt that journalism did not satisfy my desire to dig deeper and get a broad picture of issues that are often complex but necessary to understand for change.

Academic research is different. It demands the whole picture, especially for topics like social care, which consists of history, law and regulation, politics, economics but most importantly human stories. The human rights angle to social care provides a framework to connect the contextual background with the human side, nationally and internationally. I can take the time I need to understand issues, I can connect with people of different walks of life and together I believe we can bring about improvement for people drawing on social care. 

Read more about Caroline's research on the human rights of people living in care homes.

Find out more

  • Read more about Your Path in Research
  • The NIHR has launched Link and Learn. Link and Learn is a matchmaking service connecting public health and social care practitioners with researchers in the field. Using this service is an excellent way for anyone new to public health and social care research to gain unique insight, exchange experiences, and ask questions. Sign up on Mentorloop
  • Find social care and public health internships and opportunities from across the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs) on this summary page