Intended for healthcare professionals

Increasing the impact of health research through co-production of knowledge

Co-production of knowledge through research involves collaborations between researchers and end-users of research, including patients and the public, health professionals, health system managers, and policymakers. This approach is being advocated globally, and across sectors. But there remains uncertainty on what co-production of research entails, how to do it, when and when not to do it. More evidence on these issues is essential if the co-production of research is to deliver on its promise to produce knowledge and share power and responsibility from the start to the end of research and avoid wasting time, resources, and the good will of end-users.

This BMJ collection on Increasing the Impact of Health Research through Co-production of Knowledge provides an overview of the evolution, potential, influence, learning and challenges in co-producing evidence to inform decision making in health policy and practice, and points to the core principles which should underpin it.

In this collection, we define research co-production as where researchers work in partnership with knowledge users (comprising patients and caregivers, the public, clinicians, policy-makers, health system leaders and others) to identify a problem and produce knowledge, sharing power and responsibility from the start to the end of the research.


Co-production of knowledge: the future
Sally Redman, Trish Greenhalgh, Lola Adedokun and Simon Denegri on behalf of the Coproduction of Knowledge Steering Committee.


Co-producing the covid-19 response in Germany, Hong Kong, Lebanon, and Pakistan
Robert Marten and colleagues highlight the benefits of co-production during covid-19 and call for it to be become embedded in policy making.

Collective sensemaking for action: researchers and decision makers working collaboratively to strengthen health systems
Lucy Gilson and colleagues draw on experiences from Kenya and South Africa to consider the practice, benefits, and challenges of research co-production for strengthening health systems.

International experiences with co-production and people centredness offer lessons for COVID-19 responses
Eva Turk and colleagues believe that there is much to learn from the experiences of low and middle income countries in co-producing knowledge and working with communities to find feasible and acceptable solutions to healthcare concerns.

Co-production of evidence for policies in Thailand: from concept to action
Viroj Tangcharoensathien and colleagues apply the “triangle that moves the mountain” to analyse the co-production of evidence for health policy making in Thailand.

Strengthening capacities and resource allocation for co-production of health research in low and middle income countries
Irene Agyepong and colleagues share experiences and ideas to strengthen capacity for health research co-production in low and middle income countries.

Effective engagement and involvement with community stakeholders in the co-production of global health research
Doreen Tembo and colleagues argue that small changes as well as larger system-wide changes can strengthen citizens’ contribution to knowledge in health research.

Rethinking research processes to strengthen co-production in low and middle income countries
Co-production needs to become an integral part of the training and funding of researchers to ensure research meets everyone’s needs, argue David Beran and colleagues.


Health policy and systems research: ethical challenges in co-production of knowledge
K Srinath Reddy and colleagues.

Co-production between researchers and policymakers is critical for achieving health systems change
Peter M. Hansen and colleagues.

Co-production of knowledge to strengthen Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme
Chris Atim and Ama Pokuaa Fenny.

Building a collaborative research culture for multisectoral policy and implementation in Cambodia through co-production
Kumanan Rasanathan and colleagues.

Co-production of research with sex workers as a political act
Lance Louskieter and colleagues.

Co-production of knowledge must move further and faster to strengthen health systems
Robert Marten, Abdul Ghaffar and colleagues.

The right to participate: An under-utilised component of the right to the highest attainable standard health
Kwanele Asante.

These articles are part of a series proposed by the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research and commissioned by The BMJ, which peer reviewed, edited, and made the decisions to publish these articles. Article handling fees (including printing, distribution, and open access fees) are supported by the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Alliance is able to conduct its work thanks to the commitment and support from a variety of funders. These include designated funding for specific projects within our current priorities, such as this article series, as well as our long-term core contributors from national governments and international institutions. For the full list of Alliance donors, please visit:

The articles for this collection were handled by Cat Chatfield, Clinical Editor for The BMJ, and Rachael Hinton, Associate Editor for The BMJ

Banner Image: © WHO / Lindsay Mackenzie. Landing Page Image: © WHO / Eugene Kabambi

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