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Help us develop a way to measure what success looks like in co-production

March 14, 2023

We're pleased to share that we've received £150,000 of funding from Research England’s participatory research funding allocation for 2022-2023. This funding follows on from the funding that we received in 2021-22 and used for the Value of Co-Production research project.

Research England is part of UK Research Innovation (UKRI) and is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England. The funding was awarded to universities to develop and strengthen their ability to work with communities meaningfully, through participatory and co-produced activity.

Central to our work as Co-Production Collective at UCL (University College London) is our co-produced ambition to ‘Lead Culture Change’. We are passionate about demonstrating the benefits of co-production and influencing individuals, organisations and systems (both inside and outside of UCL) to embed co-production at the heart of everything they do. Our approach links closely with Research England’s approach to this funding pot.

What are our plans for the use of this funding?

We want to use this funding to work together as a community to carry on from where we left off with the Value of Co-Production research project. A key finding of the Rapid Review strand of this work was that:

The low level of formal evaluation of the impacts of co-production (as opposed to the impacts of the research products) suggests a need to start measuring and evaluating the claims that are being made in research [and wider] on co-production (Value of Co-Production, 2022).

We want to do something to try and address this lack of information. Co-production’s benefits are not easily measurable in ways that would be recognised by the systems that it seeks to benefit. However, what we want to do is to encourage those co-producing projects to also co-produce the evaluation design.

Evaluation is an objective process of understanding how a policy or other intervention was implemented, what effects it had, for whom, how and why.

Magenta Book, Innovate UK Evaluation Framework published by UKRI (2018)

We believe it is important to bring project teams, groups of people and communities together to develop a common understanding of what works and what doesn't when it comes to co-production (both are valuable learning) and of what the benefits of the co-production work they are doing might be.

So, what is the grand idea?

Well, we want to try and fill the gap that the Value of Co-Production research identified and co-produce the development of something (perhaps a tool but we don’t know yet) to help people to evaluate co-production work. We had to submit an application for this funding and as a result we brought together a group of partners and of our community members to shape this project with us. Having secured the funding we wanted to share the basics that we have worked out to date and open this work up to the wider Co-Production Collective community. The details of this project are yet to be confirmed, as we will co-produce it with all involved.

The plan is to fund and support a cohort of projects that use co-production or other similar participatory research methods as their approach, which include a mixed group of people with living or lived and learnt experience coming together as a team. The projects will be supported by UCL’s Evaluation Exchange based within the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, to help them learn more about evaluation and how to embed a culture of learning. The Evaluation Exchange has experience of supporting different people to work together to build skills and share capacity in evaluation that work in the real world. Also involved are UCL’s Grand Challenges (a team who support and convene collaborations, bringing people together to develop joined-up solutions to some of society’s biggest issues), and the Academy of Medical Sciences, an independent body that focuses on biomedical and health research in the UK.

How can I get involved in this work?

Due to the focus of this work, we are looking for 4 people with:

  • Some experience of co-production in practice
  • Some understanding or interest in evaluating co-production

You can submit an expression of interest (see below for more information) if you'd like to be involved, which will be matched against the criteria outlined above.

We are looking for people to join the team for the management of this work, the role will be quite strategic, and the project fairly fast moving, so it might be a bit challenging if you’re totally new to co-production or have very limited experience of it yourself. But we'll explore with you how best we can work together if you're selected.

These are the experiences of two of the people who got involved in the Value of Co-Production research project last year:

I interviewed so many different, interesting people about their experience of co-production mainly through their work; exploring what it is that made the difference, often touching on personal and structural transformation. It was fascinating to see the shift in culture from when I started, way back when ,believing our lived experience could make positive changes ... I was very glad to contribute to the collective, growing body of evidence that reveals the value of co-production.

Laura Able, Community Reporter & member of the Co-Production Collective community
Joining the value of co-production team and being part of Co-Production Collective has been a great experience.. It gave me the opportunity to contribute and be part of projects that actually had a positive impact on people’s lives. It was an amazing learning experience where I learnt so much about myself and how to work with people from different walks of life who I probably wouldn’t have met any other way.

Nour All Ahham, member of the Co-Production Collective community

What is expected of me if I get involved?

It’s difficult to work out how many hours this work would equate to at this stage, and we can be flexible with altering requirements to suit your circumstances, but we estimate each person will be involved for roughly:

  • 4 hours per month for 6 months

We are looking for 4 people to join us to contribute to the following:

  • A monthly 2-hour progress update meeting to plan for the design and delivery of this work. This will take place on a weekday.
  • Reading and contributing to plans and meeting content.
  • Reviewing materials produced as part of this work.


We would like to pay you for involvement in this project at our usual rate of £100 per 4hours/half day (see our Payment Policy for further information). We will provide more information about this if you join the team, as well as help with any accessibility support you may need.

How do I express an interest in getting involved?

If you would like to get involved, please email Niccola and the team on, with the following information (only a couple of paragraphs are needed):

  • Who you are - a little bit about you and your co-production and evaluation experience.
  • Why you think this project is important?
  • Why you’re interested in getting involved.

If you find it easier, please download this Word document containing these questions and email this back to us.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 2 April 5pm (UK time).

If you find email difficult, just let us know and we’ll happily organise a phone call to record your application in this way instead or you can send us a WhatsApp voice note to Niccola on 07741 671 200.

What other opportunities might there be?

Don’t worry If this opportunity isn’t quite for you or you’re not selected for these roles. There will be plenty more opportunities to get involved in the project as it progresses! For example, your experience, perspectives and knowledge will be crucial for gathering ideas for the funded projects, joining funded projects as a team member and/or participating in testing the online training that we develop.

We will be in touch with more information on this soon but feel free to let us know if you are keen to be involved in this part of the work.

If you have any questions or would like more information on anything in this blog, please drop us a line:

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