Centering and Embedding Family Carers in the Co-Production of Carer Research, Supports and Policy

Project Aims

Underpinned by an engaged research approach, CARERENGAGE has an overall aim to coproduce in-depth, practically-oriented knowledge and evidence-based research impacting family carers in Ireland. Specifically, this will involve Institute of Social Science in the 21st Century UCC (ISS21) and Care Alliance Ireland (CAI) facilitating and delivering three national workshops addressing three key research and policy areas identified by CAI, in consultation with its 85 CVO members.

This aim is supported by the following action-specific objectives:

1: Develop a CVO-academic-policy-citizen-carer-service provider knowledge network to support family carers’ capacity to make informed decisions and achieve policy goals

2 Co-facilitate three national workshops to encourage knowledge exchange and coproduction dialogue between network members to bridge the gap between research, policy, practice and family carer requirements.

3 Co-develop, communicate and translate policy, academic, CVO provider, recommendations to maximise the value and impact of family carer research. 

Implementation Plan

Co-facilitated by ISS21 and CAI, the project plan prioritises the delivery of three roundtables, briefing and position papers on priority social policy issues impacting carer well-being in Ireland. The roundtables are as follows:

  • Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) in Research with a Focus on Family Caring. 13th October 2020 (via Zoom)
The roundtable featured three presentations, followed by a lively and engaging panel and group discussions between family carers, researchers, CVOs and health and social care providers who looked at how to implement best practice PPI with regard to family carer research. 
Dr. Jon Salsberg (University of Limerick): 'Meaningfully Involving Patients, Carers and other Members of the Public in Health Research'. To access the presentation, please click here 
Dr. Nikki Dunne & Jo Bergin (Family Carers Ireland): 'A reflection on the development of the Family Carers Research Advisory Network'. Please click here 
Aisling Harmon (PPI participant expert and family carer): 'The Family Carer Perspective'.
For details on workshop interactive sessions please click on the following link: CARERENGAGE PPI Roundtable 1
  • Implementing Evidenced Informed Changes in Family Carer Policy - scheduled for March 2021. 

The interactive workshop, with a sample of key stakeholders, will report on the findings of the CARERENGAGE survey (details below) and co-create and propose priorities and actions to be included in the next National Carer Strategy. In line with a PPI approach, the survey findings and outputs from the workshop will then be submitted to the Department of Health in April 2021 for consideration for inclusion in the revised National Carer Strategy.

  • Engaged Research and Policy Priorities for the wider Family Carer Sector: Path to Delivery, Impact and Change - scheduled for September 2021. 


Participate in the CARERENGAGE Survey (13 Jan-3 Feb 2021)

A national survey of key stakeholders (family carers, policy makers, CVOs, academics and others) will be conducted in January 2021 to inform the revising of the National Carer Strategy (2021), which is part of the current programme for government. This survey will be open from 13 Jan - 3 Feb. To participate in the survey, which takes approximately 10 minutes, please click here: The results of the survey will be presented and discussed during an interactive workshop with a sample of key stakeholders on March 2021.

Project Funding & Duration

Irish Research Council, New Foundations

July 2020 – December 2021

Project Team 

Dr Carol Kelleher, ISS21, Email 

Zoe Hughes, CAI, Email 

Liam O' Sullivan, CAI Email 


Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30