Department of Social Work and Social Care


Recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results provide reasons to celebrate as over half the Department of Social Work and Social Care research publications submitted were judged internationally excellent or world-leading.

All our academic staff are research active and teach, creating a strong, research-led learning environment. Social work at Sussex is ranked 15th (out of 77) in the UK  by The Guardian University Guide 2019, 20th by the The Independent Complete University Guide 2019 and 28th by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

Department of Social Work and Social Care REF results: 2014REF 2014 logo

The Department of Social Work and Social Care's 2014 REF-submitted publications included world-leading longitudinal qualitative research on developmental trajectories, youth and migration, and on distinctive approaches to social work practice. The research reported was characterised by the use of innovative methodologies to tackle issues of considerable significance for social work policy and practice, and to further develop the domain of work with children and young people.

The Department excelled on impact, the new dimension for measuring research excellence and was deemed by the assessing panel to be ‘conducive to achieving very considerable impact’, evidencing ‘outstanding impact in terms of reach and significance to its intended constituency.’ The Department’s collaboration with service users and local service agencies, as well as national policy makers was of particular note, with Professor Suzy Braye and Dr David Orr’s case study on adult safeguarding heralded as an exemplar of exceptional impact for what could be achieved by working with users, practitioners and inter-agency networks to produce and disseminate materials.

The Department has successfully developed its research environment, establishing an impressive framework of strong  interdisciplinary partnerships. The recent development of three new research centres headed by world-leading researchers provides a strong platform to consolidate the progress already made. Provision for staff development and mentoring is excellent, with notable results, including the award of a large European Research Council Starting Grant. The number of doctoral awards has grown significantly from a low base. Staff have made world-leading contributions to the development of the discipline of social work and interdisciplinary research through the editorship of four major journals and strategic advice provision to the ESRC on social work and social care research. The Department’s  research profile was particularly noted for its extensive collaboration with service users using imaginative approaches.

Research organisation

The Department's research is organised as a cross-cutting activity and includes:

A formal partmership with the School of Psychology also links us to the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice.

Research Centre Annual Reports

Every year, each of our Research Centre's produces an 'Annual Report' detailing the ways in which it has met its objectives during the proceeding year. The following are the latest reports: 


Research guidance documents


Guidance docs

ESW Research Strategy [PDF 440.42KB]

ESW Viva Process [PDF 85.08KB]

Research contribution, charity funding and partnership bids [PDF 76.39KB]

Briefing Note 16: Horizon 2020 Masterclass [PDF 800.37KB] - Tips on applying for EU Horizon 2020 funding from a masterclass held in March 2014

See also web pages for 'Research staff' at Sussex

Open access publishing

The University Library has a set of web pages intended to provide general support on the subject Open Access publishing.

See also: