Five collaborative partnerships have been awarded funding as part of the ‘Research Better Together’ project. The project, which is funded by the University of Birmingham and delivered in partnership with BVSC Research, Communicate2U and Co-Production Works, seeks to facilitate stronger connections between health and social care researchers, VCSEs and the communities they support. Building upon BVSC Research’s engagement with the sector and insight gained from academic colleagues, the project seeks to redress the power imbalances which can exist in research activity, as well as to build the necessary connections, resources and skills to enable high quality, impactful research.

VCSE organisations and academics were initially invited to a networking event in early June, where they were able to share their interests and priorities for research/co-production activity, establishing opportunities for collaboration. This was followed by an invitation to submit a bid to be one of the collaborative partnerships supported through the Research Better Together project. The five successful collaborations receive a package of training, mentorship and ‘seed-corn funding’ to develop their participatory research idea or co-production activity. The announcement of successful applicants took place during Co-Production Week 2023, these included:

  1. Anita Moore (St Paul’s Trust) and Harriet Clarke (School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham).
  2. Nabila Gardner and Suriya Arblaster (Ways for Wellbeing), Hamid Lea (Ashiana Community Project) and Dr Ian Litchfield (Institute of Applied Health, University of Birmingham).
  3. Danai Papachristopoulou (Refugee and Migrant Centre), Gaynor Brooke (Servol Community Services), Bibiane Manga (Sifa Fireside).
  4. Amber Din (Green Square Accord) and Dr Rebecca Ince (Institute of Applied Health, University of Birmingham)
  5. Alice Keil and Jigisha Patel (Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid)

Dr Kelly Hall and Dr Caroline Jackson (School of Social Policy) who are leading the project said,

“we are so excited to see the development of these research and co-production collaborations. The project is really helping to build capacity and enable knowledge exchange in participatory research among VCSEs and social care researchers in Birmingham”.