Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems

  • Meagher, Gabrielle (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Yeandle, S (Chief Investigator)
  • Glasby, J (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Manthorpe, J (Chief Investigator)
  • Starr, M (Chief Investigator)
  • Keating, N (Chief Investigator)

Project: Other

Project Details


The programme, based at the University of Sheffield (UK), focuses on the care needs of adults living at home with chronic health problems or disabilities, and seeks sustainable solutions to the UK's contemporary 'crisis of care'. It is distinctive in investigating sustainability and wellbeing in care holistically across care systems, work and relationships; addresses disconnection between theorisations of care in different disciplines; and locates all its research in the context of international scholarship, actively engaging with policy partners.
It will fill knowledge gaps, contribute new theoretical ideas and data analyses and provide useful, accurate evidence to inform care planning, provision and experience. It develops and critically engages with policy and theoretical debates about: care infrastructure (systems, networks, partnerships, standards); divisions of caring labour/the political economy of care (inequalities, exploitation); care ethics, rights, recognition and values (frameworks, standards, entitlements, wellbeing outcomes); care technologies and human-technological interactions; and care relations in emotional, familial, community & intergenerational /transnational context.
Our team of Co-Investigators comprises 20 scholars in 7 universities, linked to an international network spanning 15 countries. The programme comprises integrative activities, in which the whole team works together to develop a new conceptual framework on sustainable care and wellbeing, and two Work Strands, each with four linked projects, on 'Care Systems' & 'Care Work & Relationships'.
'Care Systems' will: (i) study prospects, developments and differentiation in the four care systems operating in England, N. Ireland, Scotland & Wales, comparing their approaches to markets, privatisation and reliance on unpaid care; (ii) model costs and contributions in care, covering those of carers and employers as well as public spending on care; (iii) assess the potential of emerging technologies to enhance care system sustainability; and (iv) analyse, in a dynamic policy context, migrant care workers' role in the sustainability of homecare.
'Care Work & Relationships' will: (i) develop case studies of emerging homecare models, and assess their implications for sustainable wellbeing; (ii) focus on carers who combine employment with unpaid care, filling gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness of workplace support and what care leave and workplace standard schemes can contribute to sustainable care arrangements; (iii) explore how care technologies can be integrated to support working carers, ensuring wellbeing outcomes across caring networks; and (iv) investigate care 'in' and 'out of' place, as systems adapt or come under pressure associated with population diversity and mobility.
Each work package will collaborate with our international partners (see below). These scholars, in 26 collaborating institutions, will ensure we learn from others about ways of understanding, measuring or interpreting developments in how care is organised and experienced, and keep up to date with latest research and scholarship.
The programme’s capacity-building strategy will build future scholarly expertise in the study of sustainability and wellbeing in care, and ensure its concepts, methods and research findings achieve international standards of excellence. Universities in the Sustainable Care partnership are contributing 5 UK & 12 overseas PhD studentships, enabling the formation of an international early career scholar network on sustainable care, supported by the programme’s senior team and partners.
The programme’s impact strategy, led by Carers UK, involves leading UK and international policy partners. Informing policy, practice and debate, the team will co-produce analyses and guidance, enhance data quality, promote good practice and engage decision-makers, policymakers, practitioners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, carers, people with care needs, and the media. A Sustainable Care Advisory Board (comprising leading academics, policy/practice figures and opinion formers) will guide all its work.
Effective start/end date6/11/175/05/21