Research Committee

Research Committee

The Research Committee (RC) is a standing committee of the NALW whose purpose is to develop, inform and monitor our research strategy, setting our research priorities, overseeing our research procedures, policies and plans, and approving and reviewing research projects in keeping with the strategic aims of the organisation.

To develop high-quality, robust and relevant research into issues related to and impacting social prescribing link workers, the research committee will:

  • approve and review research projects with regards to engagement with NALW members
  • set research priorities
  • ensure that NALW has appropriate procedures for addressing ethical, integrity and governance issues raised by the research of members.
  • support and monitor equality and diversity strategies in all relevant areas of the committee’s business.

All applications for a research project, external and internal, are subject to review by NALW’s Research Committee.  

For consideration, all requests must complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) using the NALW template provided and be submitted through our website and be aligned with NALW’s research priorities and strategic objectives. 

NALW Research Priorities 

The National Association of Link Workers (NALW) is the only national professional body for link workers in the UK. As an independent grassroot social movement and community of practice for link workers, NALW has a responsibility to ensure any research the organisation produces, supports, or engages with meets the needs of our members, and helps raise the profile of link workers. 

Our research priorities are derived in accordance with NALW’s values. 

To deliver our social mission and vision, our approach will be guided by our 5 values.  

  1. Social innovation: we are committed to meeting the needs of link workers now and in the future. 
  2. Co-production: we listen to what matters to link workers and co-produce solutions 
  3. Inclusiveness: we respect people, value diversity and are committed to equality 
  4. Collaboration: we are committed to a culture of openness and collaboration to maximise social impact 
  5. Professional integrity: we strive to preserve the professional integrity and quality of the link worker profession 


NALW’s strategic priorities will change periodically to align with the needs of our members. Please ensure that all research requests align with our current priorities.  

Currently, NALW is focused on issues related to: 

  • Embedding in healthcare: highlighting the context of where SPLWs are operating and capturing case studies that provide context of what SPLWs do and do not do. 
  • Support models/mechanisms – What are the models available and what may work best? What resources do Link Workers need to be supported to do their job? What are effective and sustainable models for support and supervision? 
  • Health inequalities: making inquiries around the support currently provided to help reduce inequalities and looking at who is benefitting 
  • Referrals: research to better understand referral pathways (including appropriate and inappropriate) and complex cases to help identify the gaps to better route and support people.  
  • Education: provide a better framework to understand the role of SPLWs, role boundary, and the link worker model; what clinical supervision is; understanding for both the public and for employers. 

These priorities underpin all of our strategic aims: 

  • To promote link worker professional standards and practice 
  • To unite the voices of link workers 
  • Increase link worker connectedness 
  • Build link worker capability and resilience   
  • Support the reduction of health inequalities. 
  • Frame the role of SPLWs and highlight the impact of the SPLW model.

Criteria for Submission 

Must be: 

  • Aligned with NALW’s current strategic priorities 
  • Allow for co-production with NALW 
  • Be in the best interest of our members and the communities they serve

Must not be: 

  • We are unable to provide students a means to recruit participants for their research. If students are looking for potential research topics, please take a look at our strategic priorities. As a membership organisation, we are not in a position to support individual academic projects.  
  • Targeting our membership lists directly. All approved research that needs to be submitted to our members for input will be reviewed and sent via NALW. More information will the provided after EOIs are approved.  


What research requests does NALW accept?  

NALW’s objective is to represent the best interest of its members. All research  requests are subject to the review of our Research Committee. EOIs will be reviewed  for alignment with NALW’s current strategic interest, the best interest of supporting  or further the work of Link Workers, or wider relation to improving integrated care. 

What research requests does NALW NOT accept?  

NALW does not accept research requests that are not aligned with our strategic priorities. We also do not support individual academic research projects.  

How often are EOIs reviewed and approved?  

NALW’s Research Committee meets approximately every 3-4 months (or 3x/year).   

 How do I submit an EOI? 

Once completed, and you ensure your EOI is aligned with NALW’s research priorities, please send your EOI as a word document using the template provided to 

 How are proposals reviewed? 

An internal review is conducted upon submission to determine relevance. If  applicable, the applicant will be notified and their EOI will be submitted to the RC for  review and approval.  

Due to the volume of research requests, we will contact you to let you know if  your request has been rejected or if it will be sent to the RC (and provide the expected  date of decision).  

What if I want to access your member database? 

NALW respects its members privacy and does not provide access to database lists without co-production . 

Can NALW help me access link workers to complete my research?  

All requests are screened to prevent our members from being inundated  with requests. Generally, individual student research projects do not benefit our members or further NALW’s strategic priorities. Institutional requests aligned with our priorities and focused on co-production can be submitted to using our EOI template.  

Can I post a link to my dissertation project on your member site? 

No, generally, student requests are to access members and solicit  information, which goes against our organisation’s standards.  

Can I conduct interviews with you member Link Workers or other people that are involved in the implementation and/or evaluation of Social Prescription? 

Only research projects approved by our research committee will be able to  conduct interviews with members. Please review our criteria for submission.  

How do I partner with NALW to co-produce research? 

Complete the EOI template with details about your proposed research and  submit to