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Doing things differently – a blog by Becky Purvis, Interim director of Policy and Partnerships

Last updated on 28 Jul 2022

'At our Board meeting last week, a group of people involved in or impacted by research joined us to discuss how we can do things differently.

We were there to pick up the conversation that we began at the launch of our three-year strategy Making it easy to do research that people can trust about how we can work in a way that includes everyone in research.

Our strategy sets out a guiding principle to ensure that health and social care research is done with and for everyone, with commitments to:

  • include everyone in research
  • ask you what you want research to look like and act on this, and
  • involve you in the HRA

We need to work differently to do this and we are starting right here.

At our strategy launch, we heard that you can’t do the same things in the same ways with the same people and expect the outcomes to be different. So we aren’t.

As our strategy took shape, a group of people involved in or impacted by research formed a ‘strategy working group’.

They helped us talk about what we are setting out to do and why it matters in a clear and accessible way.​

They told us who they wanted to hear from and how we should launch our strategy to the world.​

And they were clear that our launch should start a conversation about how we can best achieve what we are setting out to do.

That conversation was full of energy, enthusiasm and constructive challenge. You can read more about it in our blog.

Be a ‘beacon of sharing’

We have distilled what we heard into 10 themes – ways that we can change how we work to realise our objectives.​ These 10 themes are to:

  • recognise how the way you work includes some people and excludes others​​
  • do things differently​​
  • get visible, get uncomfortable​​
  • be accountable and honest​​
  • make it easier for people to shape research​​
  • ensure including everyone is everyone’s responsibility​​
  • be upfront​​
  • reach people who don’t know about research​​
  • make research start with people​​
  • raise up what exists; build what’s needed

We held our Board meeting last week. The HRA is governed by a is governed by a Board composed of external people and employees, including the chair,. Our Board members invited people involved in or impacted by research, who formed our Strategy Working Group, to join them to dig down into these ideas in more detail.

We asked what do we need to do more of? What do we need to do differently? What are we not currently doing that we should consider doing?

And we explored where there may be easy wins as well as longer-term changes, and what success will look like.

We are now taking away these ideas, we’ll be discussing them over the summer, and we will come back to the next Board in September with some proposals for change.

Watch this space.'

Becky Purvis.jpg

Becky Purvis

Interim Director of Policy and Partnerships

Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe the meetings.


The HRA board leads the HRA. They make decisions about the organisation’s direction, plans, finances and performance. They also manage relationships with other people and organisations within social care and health research.

The HRA board includes:

  • executive directors – people who are employed and work full time for the HRA
  • non-executive directors (NEDs) – people who work two to three days a month for the HRA. NEDs are paid. They bring a useful external perspective and a wide breadth of experience of social care and health research. They challenge the HRA to be the best it can be.

Find out more about how to observe a meeting.

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