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Co-production with young people is a collaborative model of working in which researchers, service providers and other relevant stakeholders work together with young people to develop research, policy, and interventions. In mental health, this model has been increasingly embraced due to its potential to generate outputs that are more valid, relevant, and valuable to end users. Co-production also allows young people to realise their right to participate in decision-making affecting their lives, as acknowledged in national and international human rights documents.

Unfortunately, the practice of co-production is not straightforward, and often met with challenges and barriers. This umbrella project aims to investigate different dimensions of co-production in mental health, from a systemic viewpoint. DPhil projects falling under this theme might cover one of the following:

  • mappings of co-production experiences, attitudes, perceived barriers and/or capacity building needs among young people, researchers, parents, teachers, practitioners, policymakers, and/or other relevant stakeholders
  • investigations of individual, social, cultural, ethical, and political conditions affecting the possibility and delivery of equal partnership with young people  
  • analyses of ethical dilemmas in co-production of research and interventions, and development of frameworks to support decisions-making
  • development of systematic methods to measure co-production quality and impact
  • rigorous evaluations of the impact of co-production on the quality, reach and relevance of research and interventions in adolescent mental health
  • co-design and evaluations of mental health interventions that are centred on co-production or youth participation (e.g. peer-to-peer approaches, interventions fostering intergenerational dialogue about mental health).


The student would have scope to shape their specific project according to their interests. Available training might include:

  • systematic review methodology
  • co-production and participatory research
  • design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation in qualitative and quantitative research
  • concepts, theories, and methods in bioethics, childhood studies and mental health science
  • interdisciplinary
  • global health research with children and adolescents
  • policy engagement
  • science communication.


Projects might be based in the UK or internationally, and external placements can be arranged to support the project. We have collaborations with research teams across the UK, Brazil, Germany, and the USA, as well as international organisations, charities, policymakers, and technology partners.


The ideal candidate would have experience of empirical research in bioethics, psychology, public health, social sciences, psychiatry, or related field. Experience working with or conducting research with young people would be very important.