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About the PSSRU

Mission statement

The PSSRU’s mission is to conduct high quality research on social and health care to inform and influence policy, practice and theory.

PSSRU aims:

  • To conduct long-term research to help shape the development of social and health care systems, in the UK and internationally, while also responding to more immediate research needs.
  • To develop and employ rigorous research methods from a multidisciplinary base.
  • To examine the performance and functioning of social and health care finance, organisation and delivery, with a particular emphasis on promoting efficiency and equity.
  • To conduct research that meets the best standards of research governance.
  • To work towards greater user involvement in research.
  • To disseminate research findings to a variety of audiences through a variety of media.
  • To develop the research and related skills of PSSRU staff.
  • Branches

    The PSSRU was established at the University of Kent at Canterbury in October 1974. In 1996 new branches opened at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and at the University of Manchester. All three host departments have been assessed as ‘outstanding by international criteria’; by the Higher Education Funding Council. By having three branches the Unit benefits from increased opportunities for collaboration with other academic and practice colleagues and a wide base for fieldwork.

    PSSRU researchers come from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, including the caring professions. The distinctive PSSRU style of analysis draws on a wide variety of research approaches, which have been collated and developed systematically as the ‘Production of Welfare’ approach. The Unit's work has had an important influence on theory, and policy development and reform in several countries: for instance, in care-managed community care of older people and the study of costs and the costs of outcomes.

    The PSSRU at the University of Kent is based in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research in Canterbury. It includes the publications office and the Sir Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care. The branch director is Professor Ann Netten.

    The PSSRU at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is part of LSE Health & Social Care, which in 2009 was awared a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The School has an unmatched reputation for depth and breadth in British social science with a long history of formidable policy impact. The branch director is Professor Martin Knapp.

    The PSSRU at Manchester is part of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester. The faculty incorporates one of the largest medical schools in Europe. The Unit is based within the School of Medicine. The branch director is Professor David Challis. The North West Dementia Centre (NWDC) is part of the PSSRU at Manchester.

    The Centre for the Economics of Mental Health is located at the Institute of Psychiatry in London: it is independent of the PSSRU but shares many links and some staff.

    Department of Health funded research units

    The PSSRU is one of three social care research units which receive core funding for five-year programmes of work from the UK Department of Health. The others are the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London and the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York. The DH also funds 14 research units which concentrate more exclusively on health care studies.

    More information on the Department of Health's social care research commissioning is available on the DH website.

    Around half of the unit’s funding comes from other research commissioners.

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