Engaged Research

What is Engaged Research?

It is a type of research now coming to the fore in Europe and elsewhere aligning with connected areas of participatory research approaches such as ‘citizen science’ (exemplified by the ECIU citizen science initiative), Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Public and Patient Involvement (PPI). Engaged research is seen to be:

Collaborative: a quadruple helix approach where the community is a full participant in shaping the research question, analysing the data and developing effective knowledge dissemination strategies

Change-oriented: it seeks to empower communities and local stakeholders through knowledge and to promote democratic values for positive social transformation in the way it conducts its research and manages its community and industry partnerships

Inclusive: it reflects the various types of knowledge, including experiential forms that are essential for a socially inclusive model of research, engaging citizens in research and innovation decision-making

Creative: it seeks to improve the interactions between the quadruple helix stakeholders by promoting public engagement with research to identify societal challenges, sharing expertise and research methodologies, disseminating knowledge in an inclusive, trans-disciplinary manner.

What is the Context for the Centre?

It is part of the broader move towards engaged research methodologies that imply collaborative engagement with the community stakeholders to address societal challenges in a responsive manner. It explores the potential for increased collaborative activities, participation and knowledge dissemination, facilitated through new technologies, shared governance structures and partnerships. This brings greater public ownership and connection with policymaking and responses to societal issues such as climate change, pandemics and social marginalisation.

It also embodies the DCU mission to transform lives and transform societies through education, research, engagement and innovation. It reflects the need to rebuild societies towards a new sustainable, collaborative resilience after the current health crisis and to harness and communicate the knowledge of the university to address social needs directly, understanding the transformative power of university/community partnerships.

What are the Priorities of the Centre

We envision that the center will engage in a variety of activities, such as:

Sharing knowledge: there is a need to share knowledge on how this research is conducted sometimes ‘below the radar screen’, there is an evolving eco-system which is both user-centred and characterised by open innovation

Building capacity: this needs to happen at local, national and international scales where the power of collaboration and of shared platforms are very much in evidence with a cultural change in the nature of the university implicit

Promoting community-university partnerships: these may be with residents organisations, social service or health care providers or local authorities to develop effective research strategies and action

Addressing social need: the increase in local social need, social deprivation, access to higher education and the digital divide will all need to be addressed to build social cohesion

Co-creating with communities: solving social and technological issues together, between the university and community stakeholders, through local partnerships to match community issues and research questions with DCU expertise

Exploring the role of new technologies in promoting public engagement in research.