By including collaboration between researchers and users throughout the research process, co-production aims, according to a British Academy report in 2008, ‘to dissolve the boundary between producers and users – all forms of expertise (among academics, practitioners, business and the public) are considered valuable and contribute to knowledge production’.
For researchers, the British Academy report suggests co-produced research ‘ensures that the research findings are subsequently taken up and exploited’.
Moreover, including the public, community actors or service users in the research process may, in principle, empower them by cultivating a number of personal or civic attributes (confidence, aspiration, ‘voice’, etc.).
Co-production promises, therefore, to be transformative not solely in research terms but in social terms: the engagement of citizens and social groups nourishes the renewal of democracy.
In this project we aim to understand how the benefits of co-production can be maximized through an improved awareness and management of the risks, trade-offs and limits of co-production as a way of conducting social and political research.
Through a systematic review of the literature and interviews with researchers and policymakers, we aim to understand the challenges of maximizing the benefits of co-production, and how they might be overcome.