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We’re looking for you!

ucweeca19 November 2019

Are you interested in co-production and inclusive health research?

Do you have good organisational skills and enjoy working with people in a research environment?

Would you like to play a part in changing how research works?

If so, then this opportunity may be for you! We’re looking for a Project Co-ordinator to support joint working between the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research and University College Hospitals’ London Biomedical Research Centre.

This role is split across both centres: supporting us here to continue on our co-production journey, through our co-creation sessions, communications and relationship-building; and supporting the Biomedical Research Centre to develop their involvement and engagement activities. We already collaborate closely with the Biomedical Research Centre and this role will help us learn from each other as we work to make health-related research more inclusive, accessible and effective.

This is a fantastic opportunity to apply and develop communications, project, relationship and event management skills and experience, in an exciting and stimulating environment. We’re trying to make a real difference – and you can help us do it.


The nitty gritty

The job description, person specification and application details can be found here on UCL’s jobs site

The closing date is Tuesday 3rd December

Find out more about the Biomedical Research Centre on their website, and don’t forget to check out the Centre’s Principles we live by (PDF) – these are the values that guide everything we do.

If you have any questions about the role or application process, please email Rebekah Seymour.

Come and co-create!

ucweeca14 November 2019

We have not one, not two, but three whole co-creation sessions coming up in the next few months and we want you to come and join us!

Our co-creation sessions bring people together from all walks of life – patient, researcher, practitioner, interested community member, carer, co-pro novice or co-pro expert – to help us develop the UCL Centre for Co-Production in Health Research. We spend the afternoon talking, listening, learning and reflecting about particular aspects of co-production or the Centre’s activity, to make sure we’re building a Centre which works for everyone. The sessions are guided by our principles we live by and you can find out more about what it’s like to attend one in Lizzie and Susan’s blog.

We can promise a thought-provoking, inclusive and open afternoon. But don’t just take our word for it! We ask our co-creators what they got out of joining a session, and these are some of the things they told us:

“I learnt a lot about other people and co-production”

“I feel less worried about co-pro being ‘perfect’ all of the time – it’s an iterative process”

“I feel more confident to voice my opinion”

“Lots to think about! Especially power and feeling connected and engaging people”

So what’s coming up?

We’re at a crucial point in the development of the Centre so our next few sessions will be thinking about our future as a community. We’ll be thinking through questions like:

  • What difference is – or could – co-production make for you, and what’s getting in the way?
  • Why do you want to be part of the Centre?
  • What do you need in your co-production journey, and how could the Centre provide it?
  • What would a network of co-producers look like?

And, of course, through this thinking, we’ll be helping each other learn, connect and spark ideas.

Light Bulb by Rabee Balakrishnan from the Noun Project

OK, I’m in! When can I come along?

Our next three co-creation sessions are below:

Wednesday 27th November, 1.30-4.30pm (London near Finchley Road Station)

Thursday 12th December, 1.30-4.30pm (London near Angel Station)

Thursday 16th January, 1.30-4.30pm (London near Angel Station)

To sign up, please email Susan and the team at coproduction@ucl.ac.uk with which date(s) you’d like to join. Please put RSVP in the subject line.

More details about the sessions will be sent nearer the time, once you’ve registered. Please note that places are limited, but we’ll do our best to fit everyone in.

Looking forward to co-creating with you soon!


Help shape the future of the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research!

ucweeca4 October 2019

This blog by Rachel Matthews and Susan Anderson shares new opportunities to get involved in the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research.

Hi everyone, we’re really excited to be reaching out about three opportunities to get involved with the Centre. Take a look and let us know if you’re interested!

Apply to join our Allies Group

Are you:

  1. A good listener?
  2. Comfortable asking questions?
  3. Interested in health and research?
  4. Living with a condition or disability, or supporting people who do?
  5. Curious about how health research could become more inclusive?

We’re looking for two new people to join our Allies Group from the next meeting – the morning of Tuesday 26 November (central London location). We are approaching an important stage in the life of the Centre as we plan for its launch in 2020 and long term future, and we need your help!

For those of you who haven’t met us before, the Centre is being developed with a network of co-producers. We’re funded by the Wellcome Trust via the Institutional Strategic Support Fund is a 5-year strategic initiative designed to support the co-production of health and social care research. Early on, we co-produced our principles we live by and they shape how we all work together. For us, co-production is about encouraging collaboration and underlining the value of people’s expertise through experience; researchers, practitioners and public work together sharing power and responsibility from the start to the end of a research project. As a member of the Allies group you would be expected to attend Allies Group meetings and Centre events. We will offer support, feedback and learning opportunities as part of our co-producer network and more widely in the UK.

How do I apply?

  1. Read the Allies Group Role Description (PDF – if you would prefer a Word version, please email us on the details below).
  2. Ensure that you understand and embrace the Centre ‘Principles to Live By‘. Still interested? Great! Please read on.
  3.  Write a statement (approximately 250 words/half a side of of A4) telling us about:
    • What interests you about the Allies Group and the Centre for Co-production?
    • What would you like to bring to the group?
    • What would you like to get from being a member?
    • What makes you feel energised?
  4. Email your statement to Rachel Matthews at rachel.matthews@ucl.ac.uk. If you would like to have a chat before submitting an application, please reach out to plan a time. Please note: deadline for applications is noon (12pm) on Friday 25 October. We’ll be in touch with next steps soon after that.

Come to our next Co-creation Session

Co-creators sharing stories and experiences as part of our evaluation co-creation last week

Co-creators sharing stories and experiences as part of our evaluation co-creation last week

On Thursday 31 October, 13:30-1630, we’ll be building on our earlier co-creation sessions to further develop our learning and development support for co-producers. The venue will be in West London, near Hammersmith. Anyone is welcome – some people will have participated in co-creation sessions before, but we’re looking forward to welcoming new people too! Here’s more on how co-creation sessions work. Email coproduction@ucl.ac.uk if you’d like to come.

Opportunity to join SCIE’s Co-production Network

Our friends at SCIE let us know that they’re looking for a new member for their Co-production Network! They’re working with us to open this opportunity up to someone living with a condition or disability, or supporting people who do. If this sounds like you and you’re interested (more information below), please email Rachel Matthews at rachel.matthews@ucl.ac.uk by noon (12pm) on Friday 25 October. At our next event, we’ll draw names from a hat to see who will be joining the network!

What is SCIE’s Co-Production Network?

The Network is a group of people who use services, carers and people from equalities groups who are involved in co-production. They form a group of people that are actively involved in SCIE’s work and is a key part of SCIE’s co-production approach. Its role is to support user, carer and equality groups’ involvement in SCIE and provide a pool of stakeholders which SCIE can work with to co-produce projects and programmes. A full list of current members and more information on the Network is here.

Why join? 

  • Meet like-minded people: find out about other pieces of co-production and social care work and collaborate with new people.
  • A free place at the Co-Production Festival: Once a year SCIE holds a Co-production Festival. It’s a chance to have fun and celebrate co-production and the vital role that people who use services and carers have in improving services.
  • Paid opportunities: SCIE sends network members regular updates about our work and there are paid opportunities to get involved.


That’s all for now! Our late November event will be advertised soon, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to keep hearing about what we’re up to and what we’re learning at the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research, sign up for our newsletter, email Susan at coproduction@ucl.ac.uk or tweet us @UCL_CoPro.

Keeping it real: co-creating the evaluation of co-production

ucweeca4 June 2019

This blog is written by Lizzie Cain, reflecting on the co-creation of a draft evaluation framework for the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research.

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘evaluation’? Having to fill in long questionnaires? Feeling scrutinised and judged? Or a useful, inclusive process of reflection, learning and celebration? It’s my job to try and make sure it is the latter. I’ve been involved with the Centre for Co-production’s evaluation since the beginning, but I’m delighted to have been appointed to join the team in a more official capacity from July. In preparation for this exciting challenge, I’ve been exploring where the evaluation has taken us so far, and where we’re heading next.

Getting started

Evaluation enables us to question our assumptions about what is working and what needs to improve, so we can build on successes and make a real difference. For evaluation to be meaningful, it should also be led by the concerns and priorities of everyone involved. So when we started thinking about evaluating the first stages of the Centre for Co-production in Health Research this time last year, one thing was certain – it was going to be co-created!

We also knew that an evaluation strategy and framework of some kind would be needed to provide overarching guidance and direction, thinking about both the process and impacts of co-production especially in relation to our Phase 1 Pilot projects. But as so much of the Centre’s activity is being co-produced as we go, what does evaluating this look like in practice?

evaluation post-its

c. Just Ideas

Working with Just Ideas

It looks like getting help! The Centre put out a tender for evaluation support and collectively decided to appoint Just Ideas to lead the co-creation of the evaluation strategy and framework and at the same time opened up the process of co-creation to anyone who wanted to be involved.  In total, 50 people (who occupied one or more of the roles of researcher, student, community member, practitioner) ended up getting together regularly over 6 months to work through ideas, test out concepts and identify opportunities.

This was such an important aspect of the process. Without a truly diverse range of voices in the room, the evaluation framework would have looked very different. For example, Just Ideas quickly stopped using the term ‘evaluation framework’ and instead asked ‘What would success look like?’ And that was success not just through the lens of funders or institutions, but for the Centre collaborators, partners and those who are interested in its work. Evaluation should be meaningful and transparent to those who are involved, not simply a tick-box exercise which is kept behind closed doors.

Just Ideas also worked very closely with the Pilot projects to evaluate their activity in a way that worked for them, as well as contributing to the bigger picture. They developed a 3 step self-evaluation method: a planning session where the Pilot teams identified what they wanted to achieve with their funding, created a simple narrative about their starting point, and identified some progress indicators; selecting one aspect of their activity for an in-depth ‘spotlight’ evaluation; and finally, taking time to reflect on the process of co-production itself.

self-evaluation diagram

c. Just Ideas

What did we learn?

“It took more time to ensure that all those involved were clear about the shared aims; we needed to surface differences in understanding and opinion and come to mutually agreeable decisions.”
Pilot Project team member

With the help of Just Ideas and the experiences of our Phase 1 Pilot projects, we have a lot of learning about how to co-produce – what really helps, what can be difficult, how to facilitate decision-making, and much more.

“The lack of anyone specific person being ‘in charge’ which, while in some ways a positive thing to promote equality, made it hard to know ‘who was doing what and when’ when trying to balance providing a co-produced study within the cultural context of the traditional top-down clinical research approach.”
Pilot Project team member

Although the Centre is still at a very early stage of development, some positive outcomes are already emerging. They range from specific project achievements – for example, developing recommendations to improve communication between adults with mild to moderate hearing loss and health professionals – to wider developments, such as the creation of new partnerships and stronger relationships, as well as improved community awareness.

“It is striking that many participants independently commented on how much they value what they have learned during the pilot. The learning has helped to empower their own health management and interest in participating in projects.”
Pilot Project team member

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Centre for Co-Production evaluation if it didn’t involve some reflection on the reflections! Just Ideas left us with their thoughts about how their role developed during the evaluation process, and some  questions about the nature of co-creating an evaluation of co-production. We’ll be taking those with us as we move into the next stage in the Centre’s development.

tweet from Leila Baker

c.Leila Baker, Just Ideas

So where are we now?

Good question! We’re at a point of transition as a Centre, with funding open for our Phase 2 Pilot projects (apply here!), plans to co-create a website and brand, an online resource in the making, and, of course, a draft evaluation framework ready to be tried out.

The framework is made up of 5 ‘success factors’ underpinned by progress indicators. Those factors were identified by our 50 evaluators as the most important enablers for the development of the Centre and its activities in a genuinely co-produced way. They are (in no particular order):

  1. How we communicate
  2. How we facilitate funding
  3. How we work together
  4. How we organise ourselves and make decisions
  5. How we learn

We’re looking forward to working with whoever wants to be involved to put all this learning into practice,  take the evaluation forward and develop our understanding further. There’s lots to co-create, from translating the success factors into a more practical plan, to deciding what evaluation methods we could use (e.g. video stories, visual tools), and how to communicate this activity more widely. We’re also going to be thinking about evaluating for the ‘bigger picture’ of the Centre’s future.

Not much to be getting on with then….

Get involved!

If you’d like to find out more about the evaluation process so far then you can email Niccola, Project Manager for the UCL Centre for Co-Production, to request Just Ideas’ full report: n.pascal@ucl.ac.uk. You can also contact Niccola to be added to the Centre’s mailing list for future co-creation opportunities.

And finally, make sure you keep an eye on this blog to stay up to date with everything that’s going on. We look forward to sharing it with you!