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Success for students working in adult social care research

18 June 2021

Four postgraduate students in the School for Policy Studies have won national internship awards to support their research in key areas of adult social care.

The four University of Bristol students are among only seven students in the country to have received the award this year.

The internship awards are made by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research (SSCR), which is a body that brings together leading academic centres in England who are demonstrating excellence in adult social care research.

The awards support Masters students based within a university which is a core member of NIHR SSCR to work on their dissertations. Each recipient receives a £5,000 research stipend and has the opportunity to take part in SSCR events, webinars, and the annual conference, and to be mentored and supervised by leading adult social care researchers in SPS.

The SPS award holders are:

Laura Watts (MSc Disability Studies) focusing on the impact of stress and burnout on frontline social care staff and the quality of their care.

Laura said: “I am ecstatic to be chosen for the NIHR SSCR internship award as it enables me to feel like I'm making a real contribution to social care research. I feel supported and encouraged to go further through the many additional learning tools they provide.”

Stefano Brambati (MSc Social Work) focusing on the experiences of LGBTQ adults living with dementia accessing and using social care services in England.

Stefano said: “I am very pleased to be in receipt of the NIHR SSCR internship as it has really encouraged me to pursue my research interests to a much greater depth, whilst giving me the opportunity to further develop my analytical and research skills.”

Siobhan Bawn (MSc Social Work) focusing on how adults used digital technologies to address their social isolation and loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am delighted to be in receipt of the NIHR SSCR internship award as it has enabled me to view my project as a contribution to a much wider body of social care research into the use of technology,” said Siobhan. “SSCR encourages interns to consider their long-term research aspirations and offer many additional learning resources to support this.”

Marnie Spiers (MSc Social Work) is carrying out a scoping review into social work practice with individuals with borderline personality disorder.

Marnie said: “I am excited that my research was chosen for the internship award because borderline personality disorder is under-researched, and my hope is that the recognition from SSCR can help awareness about this issue and encourage further research in this area. In addition, this has given me a good starting point in my career in social work to continue as both a practitioner and researcher.”

Prof David Abbott, who leads on SSCR at the University of Bristol, said:

“These awards signal NIHR SSCR’s increased commitment to social care research and developing research capacity. I am delighted our students have taken up this opportunity in open competition and been so successful. I look forward to hearing about their research as it develops.”

The National Institute for Health Research is the largest funder of health and care research in the UK. The NIHR School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR) aims to increase the evidence-base for adult social care practice. The School brings together leading academic centres in England demonstrating excellence in social care research. NIHR SSCR’s programme is supported by the NIHR Academy and the Department of Health and Social Care. Further details on its research and capacity-building activities and funding opportunities can be found here.


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