Empowering communities to inform social change with research
28 September 2022
Under-represented communities in Reading and Slough are set to benefit from a new approach to community led science research.
The Community Led Research Pilot will be run by the University of Reading, the British Science Association (BSA), and community partners. The pilot will be co-created with communities in Reading and Slough who are new to or are traditionally under-represented in research and would like to use science to better understand local questions and priorities.
As part of the pilot, five local community members will be recruited and trained as Community Researchers, with support from Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) and Slough Council for Voluntary Service (Slough CVS). They will work closely with early career researchers (ECRs) from the University to decide on a research focus that is relevant to their local area. RVA and Slough CVS will also support the research teams to involve communities with the science research.
Kate Orchard, Head of Community Engagement for the British Science Association, said: “We are delighted to be working with communities in Reading and Slough for this pilot, with the University of Reading as our academic partner. Through this work, we hope to build on the University’s extensive experience of public engagement and participatory action research in partnership with local communities.
“By starting with the communities themselves, this pilot will aim to form more equitable ways of working between communities in Reading and Slough and the research sector. We hope this support will help communities to build confidence, interest, and ownership when it comes to research and science more broadly.”
Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans, Public Engagement with Community Research Fellow at the University of Reading, who will lead the research, said: “This exciting new project will take a participatory approach to delivery and decision-making within local communities in Reading and Slough. It will allow Community Researchers to bring their lived experience, skills and knowledge to the project and to develop and deliver research ideas linked to science that are relevant to the local area.”
Dominik Zaum, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading, said: “Sally and colleagues have developed extensive expertise in working with local communities and empowering them to lead research that informs changes in thinking, policy, and practice in Reading and Berkshire. Locating research and knowledge generation in communities, and not just in universities and research institutes, enables communities to drive and influence the process of change – which is essential for tackling social injustice and developing sustainable impact.”
If you would like to know more about the Community Led Research Pilot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.