It was an enjoyable, if difficult, exercise. We have five key principles:
- Sharing of power
- Including all perspectives and skills
- Respecting and valuing the knowledge of all those working together on the research
- Building and maintaining relationships.
We have drawn on the expertise and work of others to develop this guidance. We asked many people – who often had a great deal of experience in co-production - to comment on the emerging principles and key features. So thank you for your contributions and I hope you can see your comments reflected in the resulting guidance.
Our intention is not to promote co-production as a ‘gold standard’ or preferred approach to involving the public in research. Rather we just want to further prise open the co-production opportunity. People can use the guidance to steer and critique their own, and others’, work. Our next step is to collect examples of co-produced research which show our key principles and features in practice.
Please do send in your examples
Co-production presents challenges to how we think about, fund, do and manage research. Indeed, when developing the guidance some people told us that the challenges are insurmountable and that we should give up. I’m pleased we didn’t heed this advice. As Martin Luther King once said:
‘You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.’