Our mission is to advance social well-being; we want people to feel engaged with, and supported by, wider society and to experience a good quality of life, regardless of their background. We fund research and development projects relating to people’s welfare at all stages of life.
Factors such as family, work and income can positively or negatively affect people in different ways. We want to understand how and why that is, and how people are differently affected depending on their class, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, and location.
Where people are disadvantaged, we want to identify what policy changes might address that and how the risks people face can be mitigated.
We also aim to understand the impact of digital technologies on people’s welfare, alongside the work of the Ada Lovelace Institute.
Why welfare needs research
The gap in Healthy Life Expectancy between local areas in the UK stands at 21.5 years for females and 15.8 years for males. We need to know more about the factors affecting geographical inequalities and how they relate to other types of disadvantage.
By 2066 there could be an additional 8.6 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK – a population roughly the size of present-day London. Through our research, we aim to improve understanding of what effect this demographic shift might have on work, pensions, and welfare in later life.
1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year. People’s health can affect their family and working life and make them vulnerable to financial insecurity and other types of risk. Research on the impact of mental health problems is needed so that we can identify ways to mitigate those risks.
Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis affect 17.8 million people in the UK and are the single biggest cause of pain and disability. Our Oliver Bird Fund aims to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal conditions by funding interrelated policy, practice and research activities.
What do we fund in welfare?
We are currently funding research, development and analysis projects, with a focus on:
- Household and family dynamics, including trends in household composition, children’s well-being, the relationship between employment choices and tax, housing and welfare policies, and the impact of chronic illness, disability and mental ill health.
- Causes of labour market, economic and social outcomes and how these relate to living standards and individual and collective well-being.
- Digital and other technologies, including how they alleviate, exacerbate and shift vulnerability, and affect concepts of trust, evidence and authority.
- Intergenerational issues and welfare later in life, such as how social and economic outcomes are changing within and between generations and the determinants of inequalities in later life..
- Geographical inequalities, including how location, neighbourhoods and communities can shape people’s lives and their vulnerability to risk.
- We also fund research into musculoskeletal conditions through our Oliver Bird Fund.