Strong leadership and greater capacity are required for community engagement to reach its full potential and engage as many diverse communities with science as possible. In 2018 the Wellcome Trust International Engagement Workshop brought together key practitioners, leaders and stakeholders from across Africa and Asia to explore the issue. 

This report was commissioned to position the workshop themes as catalysts for future discussion amongst a broader set of stakeholders. In particular, the aim is that the report can be used to start, and feed into, conversations around supporting engagement at a variety of levels and across organisations. 

Executive Summary

By understanding the community and public context in which it sits, global health research can be strengthened, and its impact maximized. This is the belief behind the practice of community and public engagement (CPE) and the reason that Wellcome seeks to support and enhance CPE through its work.

However, to secure a sustainable future for CPE in global health research, steps need to be taken to strengthen the field’s future capacity and leadership needs, as well as capture long term impacts across the sector. In October 2018, for its seventh international public engagement meeting, Wellcome brought together its public engagement grantholders from major global research institutions, community organizations, NGOs, arts organizations and creative industries with academics in research ethics and engagement and partners from organizations such as UNICEF, the AIDs Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, United Nations University and the Global Health Network. Sixty participants convened in Vietnam to discuss barriers and issues in engagement, share learnings and recommend what these steps could be. 

The top themes that emerged from the discussions were:

1.  The need for a strategic outcomes-oriented framework

2.  Recognising common ground and opportunities for cross-sectoral synergies

3.  Developing and sustaining capacity for CPE in global health research

4.  Leadership for CPE in global health research

5.  Collaboration: at the heart of CPE at multiple levels

The report outlines the key actions that were suggested, to explore the potential for greater interagency collaboration and to lay the ground for strengthening CPE in global health research.



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