UCLan professor appointed to develop social care research in North West

Having lived and worked in Lancashire for decades, Professor Worsley can bring his knowledge of the area to his new role.

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) professor has been appointed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to develop its social care research within the North West.

Professor Aidan Worsley, who has been at UCLan for 15 years is one of six new Specialty Research Leads established by the NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast, which covers Lancashire, Merseyside, South Cheshire and South Cumbria.

Founded in 2006, The National Institute for Health Research is a government agency which funds research into health and care across the UK, using money received by the Department of Health and Social Care.

UCLan professor Aidan Worsley has been appointed to a prestigious role at the National Institute of Health Research

His role is to provide expertise, leadership and support within social care research in the North West Coast, as part of the Network’s vision of making research an integral part of healthcare for all, with social care only becoming a responsibility of the Network in 2018.

Professor Worsley, 60, who is the Research Lead for the School of Social Work, Care and the Community at UCLan, will take on his new role alongside his UCLan commitments.

As a NIHR Specialty Research Lead, he will be working with a wide range of organisations, researchers, practitioners and people with lived experience of services across the region to create a shared vision of how the NIHR can develop the quality of research and facilitate new capacity in social care and social work, whilst acting as a champion for both.

Professor Worsley, who is originally from Wigan, said: "I’m really keen to have lots of conversations with people about what sort of research they want, and that’s not just universities, that's people who use services and people who provide them, like social service departments in local authorities.

Professor Worsley has been at UCLan for over 15 years.

"I’m keen to make those links, to put this money into the region, and to get it into good place, and part of my job is to make sure that these research projects work, and get the results that they set out to do, so that they’re an effective use of public money, so I’ve got quite a big job on.

"It's also really good to be working with colleagues in the NIHR who are very keen to learn more about social care, so I’ve got a job on internally as well, to develop their understanding from all my experience in that sector, so that they can work better for what goes on in the North West. Its really great team in the North West Coast NIHR and I’m really pleased to be part of it."

As well as working at UCLan for 15 years, Professor Worsley has been an academic and a social worker across Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire, so can bring his insightful knowledge of the region to his new role.

Professor Worsley said: "What’s helpful about me picking this up is I know all the researchers because I’ve been in this field a long time in this area, so I can connect with them, but I also know about the local authorities in this area, Preston City Council, and Lancashire County Council being two big examples, I know the social workers, I know the services that are provided and I know the universities well so I’m able to link those up so they can work together and do better research about what they deliverer to make it better and improve services for people."

Professor Worley says he has great insight into how social care works in Lancashire, which will aid him in his new role.

The Specialty Research Leads will play an integral role in helping the NHIR to delivery its research strategy, with a key focus on research participation and ensuring no communities are disadvantaged by not being involved, as well as forming new collaborative partnerships with individuals and organisations.

Professor Enitan Carrol, Clinical Director for the Network, said: "We are delighted to welcome our new Specialty Research Leads to the Network for the following specialities; surgery, trauma, social care, hepatology, oral and dental. We received a high standard of applications from a field of highly experienced clinician researchers.

"We look forward to working with our new Specialty Research Leads as we continue to build our partnerships and increase collaboration and engagement across the North West Coast region."

More information about the NIHR Clinical Research Network: North West Coast Specialty Research Leads is available online.