At a time of unprecedented reductions in public expenditure higher standards of evidence are being demanded by commissioners, including demonstrating the cost benefits of even well-established services. A lack of investment in high quality academic research into the housing, health and ageing connections… could put practical housing services at risk. Those most at risk include the very services that older people say they value so highly – help with home adaptations and practical housing repair services…”

Care & Repair England


As a research funder which prioritises high quality, innovative, multi-disciplinary work and important but under-funded topics which could help improve the health and well-being of older people, how could we not respond to this challenge?

In November, with the help of Care & Repair England, we made a call for proposals, making £200,000 available to support research which could help contribute to filling this evidence gap.

We’re delighted to have received over 40 applications from universities from all over the UK but had the unenviable task of reducing those to just four brave teams who would compete for the available funding.  Brave, because, in order to fore-shorten the usual grant review process timescale and ensure the research could begin quickly, they agreed to present their proposals at the Royal Institute of British Architects to a live audience and an experienced review panel of senior leaders from across the NHS, Local Government Association, academia and the practitioner community to enable the winning applications to be selected and announced on the day.

We’re delighted to announce that the successful teams were from:

  • Northumbria University, led by Dr Philip Whitehead
  • A partnership of the Universities of Leeds and Swansea, led by Dr Silviya Nikolova, University of Leeds.


We’re really looking forward to following their progress and continuing to stimulate interest from the academic community, other funders, practitioners and commissioners alike in helping to break out of this Catch 22 situation.



Dunhill Medical Trust, January 2019