School of Health and Social Care

Our Research

Improving health and social care

Our School focuses on applied, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research that addresses local, national and international issues relating to health and social care practice, policy and education.

Our staff  have a wide range of research interests alongside their clinical and academic experience. Our School advocates a strong focus on service user participation and co-production. Our four research themes  provide opportunities for staff, students and partners to work in collaboration across the health and social landscape.

Recent research activities in our School

  • Researchers in the School are involved in a 5-year project funded NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East of England a collaboration between Peterborough and Cambridge NHS Trust, and the university of Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire and Essex. Professor Joffe is a standing member of the Management Executive Group, and Professor Ewen Speed is the implementation lead for the theme called “Inclusive Involvement in Research for Practice Led Health and Social Care” and Professor Gill Green.
  • A Better Start Southend (ABSS) is a national-lottery funded programme which responds to the link between economic deprivation and poor life chances. A team of senior research officers are working on a range of community projects which include a formative evaluation lead by Professor Vasilios Ioakimdis and a summative evaluation led by Professor Anuj Kapilashrami.
  • Eastern ARC Academic Research Consortium is a strategic collaboration between the universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent. The Eastern ARC have also launched a mentoring scheme. Professor Ewen Speed is a co-investigator on a UKRI collaborative project across 4 universities looking at differences in the volunteering response across the 4 UK jurisdictions.
  • Strategic support of mental health and health services research has been enabled e investigating well-being and social media use in Understanding Society and Professor Susan McPherson’s work with professional bodies and NHS Trusts on psychological treatments and guidelines for depression and developing maternal mental health.
  • Professor Fiona Nolan is Visiting Professor of Mental Health at the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences and leads an ongoing programme of work to identify priorities for mental health care in Mongolia, linking international best practice with developments in service provision and government strategy.
  • We collaborate with ISER and data expertise within the local public health and health worker communities to evaluation health and social care.
  • South East Network for Social Sciences - The University is the co-ordinating institution and is part of network of universities offering world class opportunities for social science research, training and collaboration.
  • Dr Andrew Bateman has a range of projects investigating the clinical assessment of people living with neurological conditions, the development of neuropsychological rehabilitation interventions and measurement of outcomes.
  • Professor Vicky Joffe’s area of clinical and research expertise includes developmental language disorder and language disorder across the lifespan, child speech disorder, the interface between education and speech and language therapy, collaborative practice and the training of teaching staff, the relationship between language, metalinguistic awareness and literacy, language and communication intervention in secondary school students and evidence-based practice for children and young people with special educational needs.
  • Professor Joffe is currently working on three National Institute Health Research (NIHR)-funded research projects looking into new and innovative interventions for children with social communication disorder, children who stammer and children with Down Syndrome. She is also currently undertaking research looking at the impact of lockdown on the learning and specialist provision of children and young people with special educational needs.
  • Professor Anuj Kapilashrami, Director of  Global Engagement and Partnerships, is the founding chair and leading a programme of research on migration and heath via the Migration Health South Asia Network.

We offer a wide range of research and consultancy services to local, national and international health care organisations, social care bodies and voluntary sector organisations. To find out more about this, visit our Health and Care Research Service.

Our School hosts the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) for the East of England and this is led by Dr Andrew Bateman which supports researchers in health and social care, including advice on designing research studies, identifying funding sources, and involving academic collaborators and the public.

Our research is interdisciplinary, with our academics working closely with colleagues in the Department of Sociology, the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Language and Linguistics

Research themes

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View our latest research

Search our site to discover cutting edge research from the University of Essex. Browse our site to find relevant publications, projects, groups, centres, PGR opportunities including research supervision and areas of interest.

Explore our research

Highlights of our research

Research showcase

Our research has an impact on people's lives by helping to improve health and social care practice and policy. 

  • Depression: A couples' disease? - Depression can place huge strain on a relationship. The focus on the person with depression can lead the other party to feel unsupported, and excluded from their partner's care. Can better access to couple's therapy help?
  • Can we do more to support birth mothers after a child's taken in to care? - This interdisciplinary research project, led by the Department of Sociology, carried out a review of the Positive Choices service run by Suffolk County Council. The team also developed a new app to help social workers track the impact of such services.
  • Volunteering in the UK through the Covid-19 pandemic - Dr Ewen Speed is co-investigator in this important project that will examine the volunteering response to Covid-19 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This evidence can then be used to inform policy making on volunteering and it's impact on the economic recovery of post-pandemic Britain.


Academics in our School have contributed The Conversation articles on hot topics in health and social care such as: 


Our academics publish papers in a range of journals related to their areas of interest.

Professor Ewen Speed

Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis

Professor Fiona Nolan

Professor Susan McPherson

Professor Jan McAllister

Professor Gill Green

In addition to writing papers, many of our staff in the School are reviewers and editors for scholarly journals in their field of expertise including:


Our academics have published books on aspects of healthcare practice and social care, including: 

In addition, our academics have contributed chapters to books on their specialist areas of research, such as:

Our research and COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, academics in our School came together to work on a range of projects that look at the impact of the pandemic across local, national and international communities.

Our role as a Health and Social Care education provider has allowed deep insight and understanding in to the effects of COVID-19 on aspects such as mental health, education of healthcare staff, and how social inequalities have been magnified by national responses to the virus.


Research services

We assist clinicians and external health and social care groups with various research and consultancy services.

Health and Care Research Service

We offer a wide range of research and consultancy services to local, national and international health care organisations, social care bodies and voluntary sector organisations through our Health and Care Research Service.

Research Design Service

The School hosts the Essex regional office for the Research Design Service. Funded by the NIHR, this service provides support to researchers in health and social care, including advice on designing research studies, identifying funding sources, and involving academic collaborators and the public.

Contact us
Departmental Director of Research and Impact Dr Camille Cronin