The Courage Network | What does it mean?

Last month, we announced details of a new partnership project with the University of Essex: The Courage Network. The Essex research collaboration will focus on the challenges faced by people living with neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and brain injury.

To launch the six-month initiative, a collaborative workshop took place at the University of Essex – bringing together over 50 researchers, academics, practitioners, support workers and those living with brain conditions – to start the strategy process. Project leader, Dr. Andrew Bateman from the University’s School of Health and Social Care opened the event highlighting the scope of the project and its aim for meaningful co-production* with all university staff and community-based researchers involved in the Courage Network.

Lived experiences of individuals living with neurological conditions and details of researchers involved in the Network were captured through participant-led Mood Mosaic sessions and profile posters. These collaborative activities encouraged interesting debate amongst event attendees around the research scope, design and impact of the project.

The Essex Neurological Network (ENN) members joined the researchers to eat lunch and complete their own profile posters, which triggered various inspiring and thought-provoking ideas about the types of research we might look to develop together. It was clear that members of the ENN had already given thought to potential research studies but didn’t have the capacity to get such investigations off the ground. A member organisation is MS-UK who have been members of the ENN since 2015. Amy Woolf, MS-UK Chief Executive, said: “Everyone at the ENN had the opportunity to meet with a number of researchers with the aim of building relationships and an understanding of how we could collaborate in future. This is an exciting opportunity for MS-UK as we do not carry out research ourselves but have supported the university in the past to help facilitate research around fatigue and exergaming. We look forward to working in this collaborative project.”

This event has allowed all members to begin building relationships, identify areas of collaboration and map the priorities of the Courage Network moving forward. Regular updates from the Courage Network will be shared on our website and social media channels. For further details, please contact Dr. John Day, Senior Research Associate, Healthwatch Essex via email [email protected] or call 01376 572 829.

*Collaboration involving patient’s lived experience for the best possible outcomes.