Since its establishment in 1973, SPRU’s work has been concerned with the development of policies and the delivery of services to support people made vulnerable by poverty, ageing, disability or long-term, complex health conditions. SPRU has an international reputation for excellence in research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise by the government's Higher Education Funding Council, the University of York's Department of Social Policy and Social Work (whose results we contribute towards) was ranked in the top ten in the country. Over two-thirds of our research activity was ranked as of international excellence and, within this, a quarter was classed as 'world-leading'.
From the beginning, three strong commitments have underpinned SPRU’s research:
- to reflect, and communicate, the experiences and views of the users and beneficiaries of services and policy interventions;
- to recognise that people’s lives do not divide into neat segments which coincide with agency and professional boundaries, and to engage in research which crosses these boundaries;
- to make our research influential in bringing about change, and therefore to communicate findings effectively to key audiences; and engage actively with policy makers and practitioners in thinking through their implications
To date most of our work has been within the related fields of social work, social care and health care, welfare and employment and is organised within four research groups.