NUS Social Service Research Centre receives S$1.4 million funding to advance practice research capabilities of social service

2021 0722 SSR

2021 0722 SSR
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The Social Service Research Centre (SSR) at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is aiming to ramp up practice research capabilities of social service agencies in Singapore. It has received a S$1.4 million boost from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Tote Board for a Capability Development Programme for the next three years.

SSR Steering Committee Chair Associate Professor Irene Ng, who is also from the NUS Department of Social Work, said, “More social service agencies are incorporating research into their practice, but they often lack research capability. The outcomes of each agency’s research should also be shared to benefit the sector, while social services can benefit from academic research findings. We are grateful to MSF and Tote Board for providing the much-needed funding support to expand this work that we have been doing at SSR to help agencies build up their capabilities.”

Since its inception in 2015, SSR has made notable progress in becoming a leader of practice-oriented research consultancy, research training, and research information for the social service sector in Singapore. It has established itself as a strong research partner with social service agencies and government ministries on various topics on low-income households and housing in Singapore. To date, it has undertaken 17 commissioned research projects (including completed and ongoing projects) which received a total funding of S$16.7 million from government and non-government partners. Aside from research, SSR places a focus on developing insightful publications and training programmes, as well as annual conferences and a seminar series.

SSR Director Associate Professor Noor Aisha Abdul Rahman, who is also from the NUS Department of Malay Studies, said, “The MSF and Tote Board funding will allow us to engage a wider pool of relevant expertise, generate greater exchange of ideas through conferences and workshops and enhance research capacity relevant to social service practice.”

Capability Development Programme

The funds from MSF and Tote Board will support SSR in its Capability Development Programme, which consists of four components that aim to improve the practice research capabilities of social service agencies (SSAs) and generate practice research mindshare among the SSAs.

1. Research Training

SSR offers two 13-week long mentoring programmes and short workshops every year, catered to SSAs’ needs to enhance their practice-research capabilities. The programmes are run by SSR’s research fellows and experienced practitioner-researchers. Participants take on small-scale research projects that will help them to evaluate the interventions and services they provide to clients whom they are serving. Others take the opportunity to conduct studies that explore on current issues, such as how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected social services for low-income families, or embark on projects that enable them to improve their interventions to targeted beneficiaries.

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