Jilly Green, head of UK grants at Comic Relief, said: "We have been looking for some time at how we can achieve long-term change.
"We are funding fewer, bigger grants focused on long-term change as we look at ways to contribute to the bigger picture.
"It's not that we are moving into research specifically; it's about how best we can make an impact. Service provision isn't the only use of our funds."
Comic Relief funded research into elder abuse to help bring policy change. The UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People, the result of an investigation carried out by independent researchers at the National Centre for Social Research and King's College London, was published last week.