Co-production with the public and communities as end users of research

A day-long workshop was held which brought together researchers from across all faculties of the University to share best practice in the areas of co-production/co-design and public and patient participation in research and to explore some of the challenges and benefits of this type of activity and the best ways of supporting it across the institution going forwards.

There were 38 attendees from across 11 departments. The event commenced with an enthusiastically received keynote by Barbara Evans, Professor of Public Health Engineering at the University of Leeds. There followed a couple of ‘walkabout’ break-out sessions where the participants, divided into groups rotated around a number of different posts hosted by academics with experience in co-production who presented their work and answered questions around the benefits, challenges and opportunities in their area. During the final plenary session the findings were fed back to the room and additional comments/thoughts invited.

The feedback from the event was very positive and made clear that there is a strong appetite for future events and activities (e.g. exploring use of creative arts and media) as well as more specific support and advice (e.g. with preparing funding proposals, addressing ethical considerations). A report has been prepared and circulated to both attendees and to those who expressed an interest in but could not make the event. There were also a number of people who generously offered to help shape efforts going forwards, including thinking further about how the profile of this area of work could be raised, how support could be better coordinated and what sort of further activities and training would be most useful. The next steps are therefore to bring together these people and start to put into place a plan of action.