How can we best take care of our growing number of elderly? This call from the Joint Programming Initiative More Years, Better Lives (JPI MYBL) is open for research on labour force shortages within the long-term care sector, with a special focus on working situation, digitalisation and studies that compare cross national differences and similarities in different member states. Forte has reserved a total of SEK 9 million for 3-year project grants for the years 2025–2027.

As populations age, major demographic change is taking place across Europe leading to labour force shortages within the long-term care (LTC) sector. Vacancy rates remain high as severe labour force shortages continue to be amplified as demand grows and the number of older people needing care increases. A recent OECD report on long-term care concluded: ‘LTC labour shortages may reach socially unacceptable levels if no decisive action is taken’.

The goal of this call is to fund research projects that can contribute to solutions that improve the likelihood of retaining and increasing the numbers of care workers and supporting them in their everyday work.

Transnational cooperation

Only transnational projects will be funded. Each application must involve at least three qualified applicants from three or more participating countries.

The Swedish funding is made within the framework of the national research programme on working life operated by Forte, in cooperation with Elderly and ageing – one of the areas where Forte coordinate the research in Sweden. Sweden participates as one of seven countries.
The call guide at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research contains a list of all the funders of the call.

Research topics

Proposals must address all three research topics outlined below, paying particular attention to cross-cutting issues of gender, ethnicity and social inclusion:

  1. Working situation. The working situation is a fundamental aspect of attracting and retaining workers caring for older people. It includes factors such as the supply of care workers and relevant healthcare professionals, wages, conditions, employment contracts, continuity of staffing and turnover, leadership and training and career opportunities.
  2. The role of AI. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and associated digital technologies are widely proposed as possible ways to alleviate strains on the care work force. However, how such digital devices and infrastructures intersect with human care and thus re-constituted care practices and relations in the production of better outcomes, has remained a topic for debate. AI and associated digital technologies might also pose challenges in terms of ethical, equality and democratic aspects from both the perspective of people drawing on care and support and workers.
  3. Cross-national differences and similarities within different welfare systems. Countries differ in their societal organisation of care for older people, from the importance of informal care as it relates to paid care, the interlinkage, or lack of interlinkage, between services and the amount of public spending devoted to LTC.

Time plan

The call opens: 8 March 2024 17.00 CET
Information webinar: 10 April 2024 11:30-12:30 CEST
Deadline for applications to the German Federal Ministry of Education and research: 14 May 2024 15.00 CET
Prisma opens for applications: 21 May 2024 10.00 CEST
Deadline for applications in Prisma: 28 May 2024 14.00 CEST
Grant decisions: November 2024