IMPACT Academic Seminar: Insights into Co-Research

The latest IMPACT academic seminar brought together leading practitioners and academics to explore the growing practice of co-research. The event highlighted the rising recognition of co-research as a best practice in gerontology over the last decade. Speakers from the Universities of Stirling, Lincoln, and Birmingham provided an in-depth look at the foundations and practical uses of co-research. Below is a summary of the seminar’s key points and outcomes.

Overview of Co-Research in Gerontology

Co-research involves active collaboration between researchers and older adults; co-research means working together with older adults, making sure they play an important part in the research. This approach aims for genuine engagement and contribution from participants.

The seminar emphasised the need for a strong foundation to make co-research practices meaningful and impactful.

Key Presentations

Research Ready Communities (University of Lincoln) Presented by Prof Mo Ray & Doug Rodwell

The University of Lincoln team discussed their initiative to create “research ready” communities by equipping older adults with the skills and knowledge needed to actively participate in research projects. This approach focuses on capacity-building and empowerment, making older adults active contributors rather than just subjects of research.

LGBTQ+ Older Adult Social Care Assessment Study (University of Birmingham) Presented by Dr. Dora Jandric, Izzy Pullen, & Stephen Airey

The Birmingham team presented their study on the social care needs of older LGBTQ+ people. This research highlighted the unique challenges faced by this group and the importance of inclusive co-research practices. It stressed the value of involving LGBTQ+ older adults to represent and address specific needs and experiences.

Ethics of Care in Co-Research (University of Stirling) Presented by Prof Louise McCabe & Pat Scrutton

The Stirling team focused on the ethical aspects of co-research, highlighting respect, consent, and collaboration in partnerships with older adults. The presentation emphasised that ethical co-research practices are crucial for strengthening trust, and creating meaningful collaborative partnerships.

Reflections and Discussions

The seminar concluded with a discussion led by IMPACT’s Co-production Advisory Group. This session looked at the broader implications of co-research, for applying research findings and improving social care through evidence-based practices.

The seminar showcased successful collaborations, serving as models for future projects. It demonstrated that co-research could lead to more impactful and relevant outcomes.

A key takeaway was the importance of ethics in co-research: ensuring respect, informed consent, and co-operation is essential to the success and integrity of any co-researched project.

The IMPACT Academic Seminar offered valuable insights into co-research by highlighting successful projects and discussing theoretical and ethical considerations, the seminar showed the potential of co-research to enhance gerontological research and improve social care. The lessons from this seminar will guide future co-research initiatives, ensuring older adults’ voices are central to the research process.

Our next academic seminar will take place later this year. Keep a look out on our socials for updates.  Follow us on X – @ImpAdultCare