Home adaptation - call for proposals


Call for proposals: deadline 17.00 on Friday 9 November, 2018

Care & Repair England, a national charitable organization set up in 1986 to improve the homes and living conditions of older people, aims to forge new partnerships and stimulate fresh research in the health/ housing/ ageing field by bringing together leading researchers and key stakeholders and is supporting clusters of researchers and stakeholders to work together on research proposals and projects that have a practical application. The Dunhill Medical Trust is delighted to be working with Care & Repair England in launching this call for proposals.

Multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners from across the UK are invited to submit proposals for research projects aimed at improving the evidence base by considering the following question:

 What is the impact of adaptations, in terms of cost effectiveness and quality of life, on the homes of older people ? 

Do read the contents of the drop down boxes on the right for more details about the question(s) we’re seeking to answer and eligibility to apply. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 9 November, 2018.

Building the evidence base to inform policy

Care & Repair England launched the Catch  22 project in 2014 to encourage more academic researchers to undertake studies in the mainstream housing and ageing field. Catch 22 is so named because those delivering practical housing services for older people (e.g. adaptations and repairs) find themselves in a ‘Catch 22’ situation:

  • they are increasingly required to prove the impacts and financial gains (especially to the NHS/ Social Care) of housing intervention to service planners and commissioners based on academic research but
  • few academic bodies have/are undertaking such research,
  • without such evidence housing services risk being de-commissioned (and hence it becomes even harder to gather evidence….).

In the Government’s 2015 Spending Review the national budget for Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)* was doubled (rising from £220m in 2015/16 to £394m in 2016/17, with small rises in subsequent years up to 2020). There is an expectation that the resulting additional adaptations will contribute to efficiency gains in the NHS and Social Care e.g. fewer non-elective hospital admissions, reduced delayed transfers of care, extended independence, prevention of residential care admissions etc.

With a Government Spending Review approaching, alongside reforms to health and care funding, advocates for the importance and value of home adaptations, including Care & Repair England, increasingly need to be able to make the case that there are indeed benefits, including cost benefits, associated with home adaptations.

*Since 1989 there has been a national system of means tested help with the cost of home adaptations in England – the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This has had a transformative effect on the lives of many older and disabled people.

Application form

Access online Grants Management System and apply

What questions are you seeking to answer?

Applications must address the following theme:

What is the impact of adaptations, in terms of cost effectiveness and quality of life, on the homes of older people ? 

Individual studies might focus on:

  • specific types of home adaptation or assistive technologies
  • specific risks to older people living at home e.g. falls
  • specific areas of potential cost benefit e.g. aspects of healthcare provision such as GP visits, emergency admissions, ambulance call outs, hospital re-admissions etc.
  • developing acceptable and robust alternative methodologies to Randomized Control Trials to address impacts/cost effectiveness
  • applying a range of outcome measures relating to older people’s physical and mental health and well-being
  • mechanisms for involving older people and relevant professionals in the research process.

We are particularly interested in proposals which aim to have impact at a policy level and can provide robust and reliable evidence to inform policy and/or improve the execution of existing policy at local level.

Who can apply?

We’re looking for applications from multi-disciplinary teams. We particularly welcome teams consisting of both researchers and practitioners (for example, third sector, public sector and private sector product and service providers) but the lead applicant (principal investigator) must be based at a UK university.

How much is available?

A total fund of £200,000 is available for this call, out of which we are anticipating being able to fund two projects.

As we are positively encouraging multi-disciplinary teams to apply, consisting of university researchers, practitioners and others, we also welcome applications which have secured funding or in-kind resource contributions to make up any shortfall for projects which are costed at a higher level than we are able to support.

What is the maximum allowable duration of the study?

We’re looking for short, focused projects that will provide usable evidence within a short timeframe, so teams which are already up and running will have an advantage. The study may be for up to 18 months in duration.

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 9 November, 2018.

If your application is shortlisted, you will be advised by 23 November 2018.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to present their proposals to a panel at a one day event to be held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London on 21 January, 2019 so you will need to commit to being available on this date.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications will be reviewed against the Dunhill Medical Trust’s Grant-making Policy and Research Funding Strategy to assess whether they meet our eligibility criteria. Your proposal will then be reviewed initially by a panel representing The Dunhill Medical Trust and Care & Repair England.

We’ll be looking in particular at:

  • How the project(s) will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the call, especially their potential to provide robust and reliable evidence (building on the existing evidence base) to inform future policy and/or improve the execution of existing policy at local level.
  • How the project will make a difference and the time frame in which it will do so (your “pathway to impact”).
  • Value for money.
  • Quality and feasibility of the research plan.

Between four and six applications will be short-listed and the teams invited to an event to be held on 21 January, 2019 at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London to present their detailed proposals to a panel consisting of senior representatives of the Dunhill Medical Trust, Centre for Ageing Better, NHS England, the Local Government Association, RIBA and others.  Teams will have the opportunity to respond to questions from the panel and the winning team(s) will be awarded with the grant(s) at the end of the meeting.

Frequently asked questions

The Dunhill Medical Trust
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Telephone: 020 7403 3299