Yvonne Birks

Professor Yvonne Birks
Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Social Sciences. Associate Director NIHR School for Social Care Research. Director Curiosity Partnership.
  • yvonne.birks@york.ac.uk
  • +44 (0)1904 321328
  • Social Policy Research Unit, Church Lane Building, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5ZF

Visit Yvonne Birks's profile on the York Research Database to see publications, projects, collaborators, related work and more.

Yvonne is an applied social care researcher with a professional background in nursing. She is the Executive Director for the NIHR School for Social Care research and the Director of the Curiosity Partnership.

She is also the Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty of Social Sciences.

With over 25 years of experience in health and care research her portfolio of work largely concentrates on social care for older people, and she has a specific interest in self-funders. She supports social care agendas and research within the Yorkshire and Humber regional NIHR Applied Research CollaborationNIHR Policy Research Unit in the Economics of Health Systems and Interface with Social Care, and the Partnership for Responsive Policy Analysis and Research (PREPARE) and NIHR more generally.

Recent work has supported capacity building agendas in social care and their evaluation.


  • BSc Psychology, University of York
  • DPhil Psychology, University of York

Current / recently completed research

Understanding and using experiences of dementia to develop a Socialcaretalk section for public, policy, educators and service providersMay 2022 - February 2024

What matters most to people with dementia? The understanding and using experiences of dementia project will develop and produce a Socialcaretalk section for the public, policymakers, educators and service providers, that tells people's stories about what worked for them.

Development of a decision support tool for older people who pay for social care, and their familiesJune 2021 - May 2023

In this study we will create a decision support tool that aims to help older people make decisions about paying for social care.

Helping older people with mental health needs to engage with social care: Enhancing support worker skills through a prototype learning and development intervention (The HOPES 2 Study)1 March 2021 - 28 February 2022

This study will develop a learning package to enable specialist support workers to better engage older people with mental health needs in social care.

Reducing delayed transfers of care (DTOC) for older adults with frailty: a systems-thinking approach to health and social care processes August 2020 - January 2022

This study aims to explore the role of complex social care systems in delayed transfers of care.

The Curiosity PartnershipJune 2020 - May 2025

To develop and evaluate a regional capacity building network: facilitating greater understanding, use and production of research in adult social care.

Exploring experiences of loneliness and improving social care supportApril 2020 - January 2023

This study is testing a service improvement approach from healthcare in which people using and providing a service co-design changes.

The preferences of older self-funders navigating community social care (the PRESENCE study)January 2020 - December 2021

Investigating the preferences and decisions of older self-funders of community social care as they navigate the system.

Scoping the evidence on the use and effectiveness of decision aids in adult social careDecember 2019 - March 2020

This study will assess the research evidence about, and current availability of, online decision aids in adult social care

Supporting Adult Social Care Innovation (SASCI)September 2019 - September 2024

This study is building evidence to support the adult social care sector to start up, implement and spread innovation.

Helping older people to engage effectively with community social care (The HOPES study)September 2019 - February 2021

This study aims to understand how support workers help older adults with mental health needs to accept and receive social care.

DETERMIND: Determinants of quality of life, care and costs, and consequences of inequalities in people with dementia and their family carersJanuary 2019 - December 2023

DETERMIND is designed to address critical, fundamental, and as yet unanswered questions about inequalities, outcomes and costs following diagnosis with dementia.

The INSIGHT project: Isolation and loneliness for people with sight loss in care homesAugust 2017 - April 2019

This study will explore current provision for the identification and prevention of loneliness and social isolation in older people with sight loss in care homes.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employee networks within the NHS May 2017 - April 2020

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council this 36 month study examines lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employee networks within the NHS. An interdisciplinary research team from Management, Economics and Social Policy Research Unit lead by Dr Anna Einarsdóttir in collaboration with Professor Karen Mumford and Professor Yvonne Birks aims to establish understanding of LGBT employee networks and how networks may be mobilised as drivers for inclusive work environments. Building on integrated methodology and extensive public engagement strategy, the project involves partnership with NHS Employers; Stonewall; Employers Network for Equality and a theatre production team, to deliver state of the art research aimed to improve working conditions and experiences of LGBT employees in and outside of the NHS.

The influence of social care on delayed transfers of care (DTOC) among older peopleApril 2017 - March 2019

This project will explore the relationship between the discharge approach employed by a particular NHS/local authority site and their delayed transfers of care (DTOC) rates. The project aims to answer two questions: 1) why delays are happening; and 2) how they might be reduced or prevented.

Independent financial advice about funding social care in later life – a project exploring evidence and practiceNovember 2016 – December 2017

This study explored existing research and current practice regarding independent financial advice about funding social care in older age.

Workplace Personal Assistants: exploring the role of workplace personal assistants for physically disabled peopleJanuary 2016 - September 2017

An exploration of the role of workplace personal assistants and their relationships with disabled people and colleagues.

The IRIS project: Improving Rehabilitation for People with Impaired SightSeptember 2015 - May 2018

The project examines the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two types of community-based vision rehabilitation services funded by LAs in England.

Supporting policy development and evaluating change: A fast response analytical facilityMay 2015 - April 2020

Funded by the Department of Health Policy Programme, and involving a team of researcher at the University of York (led by Karen Bloor) and the King's Fund (led by Richard Murray) this programme of research aims to improve the quality of evidence upon which strategic health policy decisions are based, by providing expert advice, policy briefings and empirical and theoretical analysis.

The SIgN project: self-funders and information needsFebruary 2015 - October 2016

This project will produce a short film and leaflet to help people looking for care and support as they get older.

External roles

  • Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Social Sciences, University of York
  • Associate Director NIHR School for Social Care Research
  • Director Curiosity Partnership

PhD supervision interests

  • Adult social care
  • Older people
  • Self Funders
  • Dementia
  • Capacity Building in social care research