Back to News
Photo of a steam engine appearing through some woods full steam ahead Photo by Sugden Guy sugden from Unsplash

Measuring Success in Co-Production: all systems go!

January 29, 2024

Following up on our January Team Update, where we announced the titles of eight projects receiving funding, we are now full steam ahead! As a team of co-producers we want to share our excitement and more details around the projects, people, organisations and what we have to look forward to! In the beginning we set out to better understand the Value of Co-production following our research project. We described co-production as a ‘complex methodology’. Our focus along this journey is to learn from each other to build knowledge and confidence facilitating inclusive and accessible co-production by:

  • Digging deeper into how to create good conditions and embed the principles of co-production
  • Learning more about how to evaluate co-production – the process and the outputs
  • Sharing and learning about good co-production

Full summaries for all projects are available on our Measuring Success project web page where we will aim to provide updates in the coming months but here’s a few brief insights into the eight funded projects to begin…

Co-producing an evaluation of the Aphasia New Music Group – this is an exciting partnership between a group of people living with aphasia who meet regularly to produce music together alongside other supportive healthcare specialists and researchers. Aphasia can have a significant impact on emotional wellbeing and quality of life. The project aims to co-produce an evaluation to better understand how the collaboration and activities of the group makes a difference to them.  

Closing the Loop Beyond the Loop: Strengthening Partnership Working in Mental Health with Meta-Co-Production - this project hopes to untangle the complexity of co-production and understand how best to measure the impacts of the different layers of doing activity involved in co-production in mental health settings. This collaboration is initiated by people with lived experience to develop and test a reflexive approach and generate a ‘tool’ incorporating a range of perspectives to facilitate ‘good enough’ conditions for co-production that can be adopted across other healthcare settings motivated to assess and improve their standards of co-production.  

Co-Production from the Inside Out – through co-production with established lived experience partnerships and broader community engagement, this project will develop, deliver and test a mental well-being course for parents or carers struggling with their own mental health as a result of dealing with their children/young people’s challenging issues and behaviours. Building equitable partnerships and creating supportive conditions through co-production, their collaborative journey focusses on sharing stories of lived and living experiences to find solutions that bring about positive change.

Improving Student Mental Health: University of Warwick – addressing student mental health, this project aims to explore and evaluate the co-production conditions to support equal and inclusive partnership between students and academic staff in Higher Educational Institutions to bring about meaningful improvement. Working in collaboration with a social change facilitator, the team will challenge the status quo to securely embed students’ experiences and mental health needs in improving student mental health support systems and environments. They will also seek to understand the difference that embedding co-production principles can have throughout the design and testing process. The team hope this work will provide a co-production model for other universities to adopt.

Tri-diagnosis: raising the profile of dual diagnosis and homelessness – this co-produced project is working with people with lived experience of addiction, homelessness and mental health challenges to deepen our understanding and improve current support and treatments. The partnership will also explore how to evaluate the individual impacts of applying the principles of co-production in this project for people with this ‘tri-diagnosis’ from a lived experience perspective.

Exploring how neurodivergence interacts with maintaining eco-hope and taking climate action for those studying and / or working in sustainability-related areas – working together, this collaboration between neurodivergent individuals, community organisations and academics aims to understand how co-produced resources that encourage positive steps in sustainability to support climate change can bring about ‘eco-hope’; alleviating climate-related anxieties. The group aims to better understand the potential for learning that co-production brings to the neurodivergent individuals in these contexts through their evaluation process.

The Symptoms of Diagnostic Labelling – Re-evaluating the language used in mental health  - An evaluation of co-production in action – this partnership is between individuals with lived experiences, psychological professionals and academics. The project will co-produce and evaluate new training content for a cognitive behaviour therapy diploma course to be delivered to trainee psychological professionals. Delivered by experts by experience, new course content will respond to the use of harmful language and their application in diagnostic labelling* to bring about a shift in practice. Evaluation will showcase the impacts and potential of co-production and evidence a better way of working, and learning together in equal partnership.

*Assigning an individual to a named category of symptoms of health conditions, according to established systems that are used by people working in healthcare.

Assessing the Impact of Co-Production in Fostering Equality and Diversity in Mental Health and Wellbeing Research – bringing together people with lived/living experiences, community organisations and academics through equitable co-production, this project aims to embed equality, diversity and inclusion in mental health and neurological research. Forging strong relationships and learning together, the team will co-produce a measurable strategy and set priorities and themes for the newly founded Centre for Equality Research in Brain Sciences. In particular, through co-production and its evaluation, the team aim to explore how the decision-making process can be inclusive and shared across minoritised groups and those with protected, mixed characteristics. This will elevate the participation of those people who have historically been underrepresented in mental health and wellbeing research.

Feeding into a bigger picture

Co-producing this programme and funding, our team consists of members of Co-production Collective, 5 co-producers with a range of lived experience, working with UCL Evaluation Exchange and our community partner, Compost London, alongside colleagues from our co-funders UCL Grand Challenges and The Academy of Medical Sciences, all bringing their personal and professional insights and experience to this programme. These partners will continue to support the 8 projects as they proceed with their work.

Deciding which projects to fund was challenging for our team, as we were extremely impressed by the number of applications and the different understandings of co-production that they provided. We are very excited about the breadth of the projects, and we look forward to developing our own understanding of how co-production and evaluation can deliver better outcomes for people.

“Measuring the value of co-production doesn’t start and stop with the funded projects. As a representative of one of the organisations funding the overall project, I have been involved in co-developing the scheme and supporting the assessment of applications. It’s been a fantastic learning experience to understand how funders like the Academy of Medical Sciences can help create the best conditions to embed the principles of co-production and understand its value”. Nick Hillier, Director of Communications and Engagement, Academy of Medical Science.

What’s happened so far this year and Deepening Practice!

Screen shot of a Zoom meeting for First Deepening Practice session showing 4 rows of 5 heads on screen
First 'Deepening practice' session

Last week we started our Deepening Practice support, and we were delighted to welcome 27 participants from the eight project teams to an online session. The co-design and co-delivery of these sessions is being led by the Evaluation Exchange, a collaboration between UCL and Compost London. This part of the programme aims to help us all develop our understanding of evaluation in the context of co-production. We expect that the sessions will develop individuals’ awareness of different evaluation approaches and support the project teams to feel comfortable convening and navigating conversations around co-producing their evaluation decisions. This will involve teams thinking about the different values, motivations, insights and interests of people within the contexts in which they are working.

Slide showing summary of content to be provided in the four deepening practice sessions- Session 1 - 25 January Evaluation Planning - Session 2 22 February Evaluation Methods - Session 3 25 April - Trian and error:Adapting approaches -Session 4 20 June Sharing and using insights
Slide showing summary of content to be provided in the four deepening practice sessions

Our programme for this year…

Working across many partnerships, we all have a busy schedule for the year and are looking forward to more opportunities to connect, build relationships, learn about each other’s projects and share our growing knowledge!

Illustration showing the timeline of main events in the measuring success programme   arrow with key dates along it  Session 1 25 jan project start - session 2 22 Feb - session 3 25 April- Midpoint sharing and learning session - session 4 20 Jun e - Final sharing and learning session - then Projects reported Sep Launch findings November 2024 and Celebration  - along the bottom of the diagram it says 'developing guidance for evaluation in co-production between Jan 2024 - August 2024
Illustration showing the timeline of main events in the measuring success programme

How else can we help? We hope this provides enough information. If you have any immediate questions or would like more information on


Other news you might be interested in