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2023-24 Policy and Participatory Research Funding


At the University of Leeds, the Research England Policy Support Fund is used to facilitate researchers to better engage with policy professionals.   

Policy projects awarded funding for 2023–24 are listed on this page, with those responding to the Leeds City Council Areas of Research Interest grouped separately. The projects started on 1 October 2023 and will run through to July 2024.

It is anticipated that the funding will return for 2024–25 and further information will be shared once confirmed. Please do not hesitate to email the Knowledge Exchange Team at  if you have any questions in the meantime.

Funding for policy facing projects can also be sought from the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and the UKRI Impact Acceleration Account.

Participatory Research Fund:

Participatory projects awarded funding for 2023-24 are listed below.  The projects started on 23 October 2023 and will run through to July 2024.

It is anticipated that the funding will return for 2024–25 and further information will be shared once confirmed. Please do not hesitate to email the Knowledge Exchange Team at  if you have any questions in the meantime.

Co-producing the legacy of My Leeds 2023

Alex De Little and Ben Walmsley

My Leeds, a key participatory strand of the Leeds 2023 year of culture has produced a network of 33 Neighbourhood Hosts with strong connections between one-another and in their communities, many of whom are keen to continue their cultural work in a local context. This project offers the opportunity to research the efficacy of co-production and asset-based community development as methods to embed and make sustainable the work that has emerged from this programme. It invites a group Neighbourhood Hosts who are keen to continue to engage in a co-productive process to: become co-researchers; reimagine their roles beyond the Leeds 2023 context; reflect on their own learning as Neighbourhood Hosts and how it fits in to the ecology of Leeds community and cultural development frameworks in the city; produce a manifesto for future action; and begin an asset-based project in their communities. The co-research in this project produces the outputs of the manifesto and a range of new asset-based community projects as well as the impacts of embedding this work in local contexts and increasing its capacity and sustainability. The learning legacies from this project will, in particular, support Leeds City Council’s Cultural Policy Team in formulating the city’s future community cultural leadership programme and development of the Cultural Strategy, particularly around questions of cultural democracy and the value of co-production for cultural activity.


INSCHOOL Project – PPIE leading to participatory research into the school lives of young people with long-term physical health conditions

Dr Simon Pini and Dr Vicky Hopwood (Department of Psychological and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds).

“INSCHOOL” is a 5-year NIHR funded research programme investigating and documenting the school lives of children and young people (CYP) living with long-term physical health conditions (LTPHCs). INSCHOOL is a participatory research project. Involvement and collaboration with CYP and practitioners is central to determining how INSCHOOL is delivered and what it does.

The INSCHOOL research programme has already identified the needs that CYP with LTPHCs commonly face in school. It has also shown that attending school can be more challenging for these CYP and how absence is managed can have positive or negative consequences. We now need to make sure that the research findings reach school staff and health practitioners.

The Participatory Research Fund award will be used to:

  • co-create resources (posters and leaflets) for schools. These resources will be developed with CYP with LTPHCs for CYP with LTPHCs.
  • explore impact of the INSCHOOL project. We will start to develop an approach to investigate what impact INSCHOOL has on CYP, researchers, schools and healthcare services now and in the future. This is an important step in determining how INSCHOOL can make a difference to the school lives of CYP with LTPHCs and those who support them.
  • co-identify future research priorities.


A Brand New Sense

Maria Kapsali and Sarah Astill

Physical movement is a key aspect of living well and maintaining independence as one grows old. Yet, older adults might find it hard to engage in movement activities, because of pain, health conditions or lack of opportunities. One of the key ways in which Age UK, Leeds support adults over the age of 50 is by offering opportunities for physical and creative activity. A Brand New Sense aims to contribute to the organisation's commitment to providing ways for wellbeing, by embedding echome, a wearable technology for sound and movement interaction, as an innovative digital tool that the charity, its staff, volunteers and service users, have at their disposal towards encouraging movement and creative expression. The aim of the project is to work with Age UK, Leeds and co-design a training package that would allow Age UK staff and volunteers to use echome in group settings and home visits; 2. develop a set of bespoke resources that will enable service users to use echome at home and through online activities; 3. equip Age UK with the echome equipment; 4. evaluate and identify the outcomes  of the intervention.


Co-producing the Leeds Cycle Network

Morgan Campbell

As a partnership between the University, Leeds City Council and delivery cyclists, the purpose of this project is two-fold. First, to give voice to the everyday experiences of riders who move between road space, pedestrian space, and dedicated cycle lanes to pick up and deliver food within a set period. There are socio-spatial politics to this work; the service riders provide is in high demand, but their presence is unwanted. Riders don’t feel comfortable cycling on roads where motorists engage in threatening language and aggressive behaviour while moving onto the pavement puts pedestrians in real and perceived danger. Most riders come from ethnic minority backgrounds which increases a public narrative of othering and unwantedness.

Second, to establish and sustain a forum connecting the marginalised voices of riders to transport decision makers to reframe such experiences as forms of expert knowledge regarding road and pavement politics within the city and key issues regarding cycling safety and theft. While Council is committed to creating formal channels for public input, it is not clear how to engage and sustain interest from riders who are time poor and possibly distrustful of local government. The forum is an attempt at redistributing where the power of knowledge sits and thus supports participatory research’s endeavour to change a social reality through methods that invite people to voice and reflect upon their everyday experiences and practices.


Brains of Bradford: Co-Producing a Participant Information Sheet and Data Linkage Consent Form

Faisal Mushtaq

The Born in Bradford (BiB) Age of Wonder project is tracking the lives of thousands of young people across the city of Bradford as they go through adolescence. Building on this platform, we are developing a new programme of work focussed on collecting brain data from BiB participants during this critical phase of development- “BiB Brain”.

Our intention is to pseudonymously link these brain data with ongoing BiB data collection (including measures on cognitive and mental health) as well as routine electronic health and education records. This will provide a comprehensive picture of adolescent brain development.

Given the complexity and sensitivity of the data we will collect, along with the highly technical nature of the process of brain recording, we will work with teenagers and their parents and teachers to refine our processes and materials. Specifically, through a series of workshops, interviews and surveys we will co-produce inclusive and accessible information and consent documents so that we can communicate the purpose of the study and the data linkage process in an inclusive and accessible way.

We will document our methodology and present a blueprint for the neuroscience community to encourage the undertaking of inclusive and accessible brain research.


Seeking ‘just transitions’: defining and implementing a just energy transition in South Africa

Alexander Beresford and Ruth Bookbinder

South Africa is the 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to its dependence on coal-generated electricity. There is significant international political and financial commitment to promoting a just transition from coal-fired energy to renewables in South Africa and the JETP agreements struck at COP 26 and 27 reflect some of the most ambitious plans to emerge from the COP summits to date. However, a transition from coal would constitute the most significant socioeconomic upheaval in recent South African history and the voice of those communities most impacted must be heard in order to ensure the transition is truly just.

With our partners in the Sam Tambani Research Institute (SATRI) connected to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), we explore how working class communities are responding to these challenges. We are conducting interviews with elected officials at all levels of the union as well as workshops and focus groups with union members to explore their expectations and demands for a ‘just’ transition. The findings will directly inform NUM’s engagement with its membership and its work with the Presidential Climate Commission, shaping national policy in this most critical sector.