To foster a research and innovation system where diverse and dynamic people and ideas can thrive and where research programmes deliver benefit beyond academia, the role of user communities and stakeholders is central to research design, delivery and dissemination – including involvement in the funding application process. This shared working may be described in a variety of ways including co-production, collaboration or participant and public involvement – all of which have specific contexts and meanings which need to be appreciated – and involve working with service users, patients, carers, policymakers, third sector organisations and businesses, amongst others.
Developing equitable and ethical partnerships requires a sustained commitment to relationship-building and a sensitive approach to the interests and power dynamics of different participating groups. Considerations around how under-represented, marginalised or other ‘non-traditional’ communities can be involved represents both a huge challenge and a huge opportunity for research. ED&I considerations need to be at the fore of research engagement, design and delivery, and with the purpose of extending the benefits of research to everyone possible and engaging traditionally underserved communities.
Resources and support:
- The NIHR’s Research Design Service has provided a useful toolkit to support researchers to better understand how to embed ED&I in research design and meet funder requirements.
- The UKRI Good Research Resource Hub provides detailed guidance and case studies of co-production in research, building equitable partnerships, and ED&I considerations in research practice.
- Top tips on how to make your research more inclusive and diverse
- A cross-College ED&I Research Community of Practice is being set up to provide guidance on embedding equality, diversity and inclusion within grant applications and sharing examples of best practice across disciplines and funders.
- Please contact Eliot Marston (E.M.Marston@bham.ac.uk) or Ipshita Ghose (I.Ghose@bham.ac.uk) for further details and if you are interested in either joining the community or availing of their expertise
- College Research Support Offices can provide bespoke advice and support on how to demonstrate inclusive and engaged research design in the writing of grant applications