Established in 2006, CIRCLE – the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities – is a research centre conducting research, evaluation and consultancy on contemporary policy, practice and theoretical issues and debates on topics in three main areas: care, labour and equalities.
CIRCLE is a Faculty of Social Sciences Research Centre at the University of Sheffield, led by Director and Professor of Sociology Sue Yeandle. It comprises a team of researchers working collaboratively across disciplines relevant to care and caring and to paid and unpaid work in diverse contexts, who conduct studies which also aims to explore issues of equality, diversity, difference and fairness. CIRCLE works closely with partners in many other universities, in the UK and internationally, and with charities, practitioners, policymakers, industry and government. It has a long-standing and active partnership with Carers UK (the ‘voice of carers’) and is a member of Eurocarers (‘the European association working for carers’).
CIRCLE was first established at the University of Leeds where it was based between 2006 and 2015. It is supported by a dedicated administrative team and welcomes enquiries about current or past projects and studies, possible new collaborations or projects. Researchers and scholars interested in joining CIRCLE, as associates or partners, and organisations wishing to access our research findings or to collaborate with CIRCLE on future studies, are invited to contact Dr Kelly Davidge, Research Manager, in the first instance.
From 2017 until 2021 CIRCLE is leading the Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems, a major study developed in 2016 with the support of the Worldwide Universities Network, and now funded under the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Large Grant scheme, with CIRCLE Director Sue Yeandle as Principal Investigator. The programme is conducted in collaboration with partners at the University of Birmingham, Kings College London, the University of Alberta and Carers UK and research partners in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and overseas. The programme comprises nine project teams of co-investigators, researchers and PhD students, and is complemented by a team of UKRI Innovation Fellows researching Positioning Care to Support Innovation, Growth & Upskilling (2018-2020).
The Sustainable Care programme builds on CIRCLE’s strong base of major studies which have explored gender and equalities in the labour market (the GELLM programme); the needs, circumstances and support available to people with caring responsibilities (the CES study); the role of technology in public and private arrangements for care and support (the AKTIVE study); and evaluations of the effectiveness of government and voluntary sector programmes on access to the labour market and on the health, wellbeing and other needs of carers, women and others facing constraints in daily life. These include:
- The GELLM Gender and Employment in Local Labour Markets programme (funded 2003-6, European Social Fund);
- The CES Carers, Employment and Services study (conducted as part of Carers UK’s EU funded Action for Carers and Employment [ACE] programme, 2002-07);
- The AKTIVE Advancing Knowledge of Telecare for Independence and Vitality in Later Life project conducted with the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and funded by the Technology Strategy Board, Tunstall Healthcare Ltd and Inventya Ltd, 2011-2014) which explored how technology can improve the lives of older people and their carers;
- Evaluation and policy studies for the UK Department of Health (national evaluations of the Caring with Confidence and National Carers Strategy Demonstrator Sites programmes, 2008-12) and research on Carers Allowance for the UK Department for Work and Pensions (2009-11).
CIRCLE’s approach is underpinned by its commitment to excellent and accessible scholarship, to respectful collaboration with external partners, and to open discussion of research findings with diverse audiences. In all we do, we aim to apply principles of inclusivity, impact, internationality, integrity, innovation and integration.
In its current programme of work on Sustainable Care, our overall aim is to support policy and practice actors, and scholars of care, to conceptualise sustainability in care as an issue not only of resource distribution, but also of rights, values, ethics and justice. We aim to understand how an adequate supply of care can be identified, and to explore how care arrangements can be made sustainable and deliver wellbeing outcomes.
Meet the Sustainable Care Team
Research Support Team
UKRI Innovation Fellows
Collaborating Research Groups
Our team delivering the ESRC-funded Sustainable Care programme draws together, in a collaboration agreement, the expertise of academics in leading academic research centres and senior staff at Carers UK:
University of Sheffield (UK)
- CIRCLE – Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities
- CATCH – Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare
- WOERRC – Work, Organisation and Employment Relations Research Centre
- MRG – Migration Research Group
Sustainable Care programme co-investigators and collaborating researchers in the UK also include scholars in the following research groups: