In October, Kim Thomas and myself (Rapid Eczema Trials co-leads) attended a networking event and workshop for recently funded NIHR Programme Development Grants in Birmingham. The NIHR is the National Institute for Health and Care Research, which is the NHS research funder. The NIHR are the people funding our Rapid Eczema Trials. All the attendees had just been successful in getting funding for their ideas for developing innovative public partnerships.
Rapid Eczema Trials was invited to participate in the day, because we too are pioneering public partnership working (citizen science) for high quality randomised control trials. Kim and I shared the learning from one year into our full NIHR programme grant. It was truly inspirational to meet up with 16 teams who are starting out on their journey to engage with local communities.
Here are some case studies of a selection of other teams which gave brief introductions at the meeting:
- No research about us, without us! Removing research barriers for people with learning disabilities
- Increasing accessibility of affordable healthy food to adults living with Severe Mental Illness in Middlesbrough
- Removing barriers to inclusion and building strong foundations of partnership and trust with under-served groups
- Participatory Arts in Health and Care Research (PAIR)
- Creating energetic and sustainable community research partnerships. Developing the Co-production and Peer Research (CoPPer) network to improve health and reduce inequality
Take-homes from the day included:
- Co-production (patients, carers and the public working in partnership with researchers and clinicians to produce agreed outcomes is like a marriage – it is a partnership of equals with transparency and flexibility, and a common goal. But sometimes one person takes a lead and other times another will.
- Co-production is messy and if it is not, you are not doing right.
- Co-production teams need to be intimate and share a common language.
If you are interested in citizen science research you might want to follow these links for more information: