“I think the retreat is a real treat to research enthusiasts. There is so much learning and exchange of information about all aspects of research – I just love it!”
“I learnt a great deal (I am new to research), making valuable contacts and time to think”
In March 2023, the RDS hosted a three-day residential Social Care Research Grant Development and Writing Retreat. Not only did the Retreat see all weathers - rain, hail, sun and, yes, snow at one point! - in the three days, but there were a variety of research topics in development by the 13 teams in attendance. Retreat writing teams comprised researchers, academics, social care practitioners/service staff as well as voluntary services representatives, working collaboratively to strengthen their project design and links between social care practice and research. The Retreat provided research teams with dedicated writing time away from busy work schedules, with focused one-to-one support from enthusiastic RDS advisers, and access to a broad range of research methodological expertise, to develop their research ideas and grant applications. The Retreat also facilitated unique networking opportunities for attendees with other organisations across the social care infrastructure to support collaborative working and knowledge sharing.
Delegate feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with research teams stating the Retreat resulted in significant progress of their social care research grant proposals. All delegates said they would recommend the retreat to colleagues and that it was a great place to have discussions and network with other researchers in the field. This feedback echoes the success of the 2022 Retreat; as at February 2023, 10 out of the 15 research teams attending the event had submitted their funding applications.
To support the development of social care research ideas and research design, a number of resources were collated for the Retreat by social care leads across the RDS nationally. These are now available to everyone via RDS Resources. The resources offer a broad range of guidance, toolkits, webinar recordings and top tips on , social care research settings, social care topic themes. Social care research design resources also include topics such as: consideration of ethical issues, how to involve service users, knowledge dissemination, and past research findings. These social care resources are in addition to the vast research design support tools already available on RDS Resources to help support and improve the development of grant applications.
The full programme of presentations from the Retreat is also available as part of the social care resources. Presentation videos include a talk from a successful previous applicant for social care funding, and presentations on public involvement in your social care application, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion, planning research impact and a systems engineering approach to implementation and improvement in social care.
If so, do please get in touch with your local NIHR Research Design Service. We offer free and confidential methodological expertise to health and social care researchers across England. We have specialist advisers in social care research topics and methodologies, as well as expertise in grant writing and knowledge of a range of funders available to researchers wishing to conduct social care research.