Community-university research: a warts and all account

Jon Whittle, Maria Angela Ferrario, Will Simm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter explores co-production with community groups of innovative digital technologies designed to address challenging social issues. It presents lessons learned from the Catalyst project (, which carried out 13 such co-production projects over a three year period developing digital solutions in areas as diverse as homelessness, anxiety management, behaviour change, and renewable energy. The approach taken was to form meaningful partnerships of multidisciplinary academics and external partners from community groups. The chapter offers guidelines for how to make such partnerships effective based on the Catalyst experience. These guidelines cover a range of different areas: working in the community, research innovation, working across disciplines, and practicalities. They are illustrated, where appropriate, by reference to a range of research partnerships set up as part of the Catalyst project.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInto the Wild
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Design Research Lab
EditorsAlan Chamberlain, Andy Crabtree
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9783030180201
ISBN (Print)9783030180188
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
ISSN (Print)2192-6255
ISSN (Electronic)2192-6263

Cite this

Whittle, J., Ferrario, M. A., & Simm, W. (2020). Community-university research: a warts and all account. In A. Chamberlain, & A. Crabtree (Eds.), Into the Wild: Beyond the Design Research Lab (pp. 115-147). (Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics; Vol. 48). Cham Switzerland: Springer.