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Social scientists at Newcastle co-produce and co-create research for societal benefit

Social scientists at Newcastle University are passionate about co-creating social change through our research by working with (rather than researching on) our communities, whether they be global, national or local, children or adults. We often refer to this approach as co-production or co-creation. Our aim is to move beyond the creation of new knowledge and have what Rachel Pain describes as an ‘ethical imperative’ to use that knowledge to make a positive difference to society.

In simple terms, co-production can be defined as the collaboration between researchers and organisations or individuals who want to participate in creating change. The way in which this collaboration happens can vary. For example, the ACCOMPLISSH project involved university researchers, VCSE organisations, local governments and businesses across Europe working together to improve how organisations can work together for maximum impact.


In contrast, Karen Laing worked with a small group of girls from Wallsend at their youth club over a number of months to co-design research about girl’s lives. They developed the research instruments and assisted in the analysis of the results. This research culminated in an invitation to join the girls on a residential trip so that they could explore their own ideas about research with the help of Karen and Jill Clark. This work led to a redesign of local services for girls in Wallsend.

Out of school – Fairness and education (

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences