The aim of this expression of interest (EoI) competition is to support up to 20 initial collaborations with the potential to form a Community Research Network at the implementation phase.
We want to support organisations with the potential to enable equitable and sustainable forms of community participation in research.
Funding for this EoI phase must be used to support the collaborative development of your application for the implementation phase. This can include:
- building collaborations and partnerships
- convening discussions
- hosting workshops
- engaging communities
- collaborative bid writing
- desk research
UKRI will manage a support package for all 20 potential network collaborations chosen at the EoI phase. This will include workshops and events to assist in the development of applications for the implementation phase and encourage networking between collaborations.
The support package will also include some ongoing non-financial support for collaborations beyond the initial EoI six-month period. This is regardless of success with an application at the implementation phase. More information about the support package will be made available to successful EoI collaborations.
Assessment of applications
We want to fund a variety of proposals across different locations, organisation types, existing activity levels and community need. We call this a portfolio approach.
As such, alongside recognising the potential of each case for funding, we will be considering:
- the diversity of organisations across the whole portfolio; we will be looking to award a mixed portfolio of networks led by community groups, special interest or campaign groups and networks, community interest organisations and local government, alongside others
- addressing 'cold spots' of research capacity and community strength. We will be looking to balance and plug gaps where there are currently 'cold spots' of community research and research engagement across the UK
- addressing issues of power: we will be looking to fund a number of potential networks across the portfolio that are led by or support communities who lack power and influence over research
The implementation phase
Potential network collaborations selected at the expression of interest phase will be invited to apply for the implementation phase, which will open in April 2023. Further details about the application timeline and requirements for this phase will be released in due course.
By your application to the implementation phase, you must have identified all appropriate core partners, to have mutual agreement on their roles in the network and how the funding will be distributed.
Implementation phase funding can be used to invest in the capacity and capability of the network partners to deliver across four key goals:
- Develop the knowledge, skills and capability required to support research produced with, by and for local communities: Your network can determine and develop relevant skills and capabilities, for example, through training, mentoring, buddy schemes or learn-by-doing approaches. These can be delivered either by network partners or procured and delivered by external suppliers.
- Strengthen and sustain the connections between local communities and local research organisations: A key role of your network will be to create and sustain key relationships and to create opportunities for new connections. This can be through networking events, matchmaking and brokerage services, advisory groups, committees or one-on-one meetings.
- Invest in, pilot and scale community-engaged research activity: Your network will develop, undertake or commission research projects, priority setting exercises, knowledge exchange initiatives, engagement projects and other activity identified as being important for developing research with, by and for communities.
- Collate and share knowledge about their practice with UKRI and other relevant stakeholders: Your network will be expected to collect and share learning about their practice through events, publications, evaluation reports and social and traditional media. The support package will help your network to achieve this goal.
Who should be involved in a network?
We recognise that every place will have a different mix of organisations with the potential to facilitate the involvement of communities in research, each bringing differing levels of existing experience, knowledge and capacity.
The organisations and individuals in your collaboration, as well as the relationships and their roles in the network can change between the EoI and implementation phases. However, your collaboration must involve at least one organisation from the EoI phase and at least one research organisation, in the implementation phase.
We believe that certain areas of knowledge and experience will be crucial to delivering on the long-term goals of the networks.
By the implementation phase, each network should be able to demonstrate it includes, or has the means to develop, knowledge and experience across all the following areas:
- developing and sustaining equitable partnerships
- using participatory research methodologies, for example, participatory action research, community-based participatory research, citizen science, public involvement, public dialogue or patient and public involvement.
- conducting research in the formal, professionalised research and innovation system, broadly defined as organisations that have received research funding from UKRI or its councils
- understanding and responding to the needs, priorities, strengths and assets of local communities, particularly those that are most likely to lack power and influence
- working in ways that foreground and promote equality, diversity and inclusion