On 20 June, 2018, Inspire contributed to the “Engaging with the Public: A Workshop for Researchers” hosted by the Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland (ADRC-NI). This event preceded the International Conference for Administrative Data Research held at Queen’s University Belfast.
The event took place at Ulster University’s Belfast campus. Andrea Thornbury of Inspire Wellbeing joined speakers from the Department for the Economy, The Executive Office, and seven public panellists from the ADRC-Scotland who all shared knowledge, experience, and expertise with this audience of UK, Italian, and Canadian researchers as well as representatives from Health and Social Care (HSC) and members of the public.
Andrea Thornbury, Inspire’s Innovation, Development and Research Manager, highlighted the importance of academic-voluntary sector partnership. The event provided Inspire with the platform to make a pitch to academic researchers on the mutual benefits of undertaking research from conception through dissemination— with Inspire and other voluntary and community organisations. Andrea provided key “tips” and the “dos and don’ts” of engagement between academics and the third sector that foster successful collaborations.
Andrea Thornbury, Research Manager said “Voluntary organisations like Inspire are experts in their field and we want to contribute to academic research which will provide evidence to inform our advocacy and service delivery. We want to develop research partnerships that can address the evidence gaps in the field of mental health, learning disability and addictions and we welcome the opportunity to work with the ADRC-NI to this do."
Katy Karnell, the Public Engagement and Communication Officer for the ADRC-NI, said “We have a better shot at making a difference—at having impact—when academic researchers partner with voluntary and community groups and their constituents whose lived experience and expertise helps inform the research process.” And continued with, “Andrea Thornbury’s talk was invaluable in that she communicated the expertise and value her organization brings to the table. Her broad experience with the third sector meant she could also paint the landscape of possibilities for the researchers who are interested in reaching those affected by and impacted by their research.”