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Social care

Our research community conducts world-leading research in social care and social work policy and practice across the life course, funded by a range of bodies including Research Councils (UK Research and Innovation, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council), the National Institute for Health Research and a wide range of trusts, charities, and commercial organisations. Our social care research is co-produced alongside people with lived experience and social care practitioners, driven by a commitment to delivering research that makes a difference to people’s lives. Our researchers have particular expertise in conducting applied social care research with and amongst some of the most marginalised communities in society.


An ancient tree is supported by wooden beams

Ageing and Biographical Studies

Known as the Centre for Ageing and Biographical Studies (CABS). Established in 1995, the founder members believed that the experience and aspirations of older people should be at the core of gerontology and biographical research, and teaching on ageing.

The Carers Research Group

The Carers Research Group was established in light of the growth in recognition of carers, their needs and the importance of supporting them. Group's interdisciplinary members collaborate on a wide range of carer-related scholarship and research projects, publications and resources.

The Children, Young People, Parenthood and Families Research Group

The Children, Young People, Parenthood and Families research group has a focus on social research into the lives of children and young people and their families, linking to to key areas of policy and professional practice across the health and social care sector.

The Open Thanatology Research Group

The Open Thanatology is The Open University’s interdisciplinary research group for the study and education of death, dying, loss and grief across the life course.

The Social History of Learning Disability Research Group

The Social History of Learning Disability Research Group (SHLD) researches and disseminates learning disability history in ways which are inclusive of people with learning disabilities, their carers, relatives and advocates.


Social Work and IPA

The OU Social Work Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (SWIPA) network is a community of practice open to anyone interested in furthering use and knowledge of IPA for social work research. It aims to promote effective social work practice through research and knowledge exchange about IPA and its application to the field.