The aim of this project is to understand and develop new principles and practices of co-production and investigate how they can be deployed to help design, deliver and evaluate the post-Brexit Environmental Land Management policy development process.

Cows grazing


  • To develop a new model of co-production to inform the development of post-Brexit agri-environmental governance as embodied in the ELM scheme, drawing upon international case studies and academic, policy and stakeholder input on best practice principles;
  • To work with active ELM pilot projects to understand ‘what works’ in terms of governance, participation and how this new approach functions in practice and is different from pre-Brexit agri-environmental governance;
  • To work with stakeholders from individual farm level through to NGOs, industry and policy (inclusive of the Devolved Administrations) to apply the principles of co-production to an active policy development process, enabling active input, critique and refinement throughout the process;
  • To appraise the utility of the co-production model as a tool for creating a successful ELM scheme and critically assess if and how academic principles of co-production can be better integrated into evidence-based policy;
  • To critically review whether and to what extent this new model can deliver a ‘Green’ and participative Brexit.

Research questions

  • What are the principles and practices of co-production and how do they fit with the process of active policy development? Who needs to be involved in the co-production of the new ELM scheme? Who sets the boundaries on stakeholder involvement? Are there best practice principles that can inform the application of co-production to the development of the ELM scheme? What are the benefits and barriers of co-production? What makes co-production effective? What is required to facilitate effective co-production?
  • How can co-production be deployed at multiple scales and involving multiple actors to inform how the ELM scheme is designed, tested, evaluated and adapted? What are the governance and practical implications of the new ELM scheme for individual farmers and key stakeholder organisations? How will the evolving ELM scheme influence the futures imagined and planned for by individuals, groups and institutions? How important is place-based context in this respect and do these issues play out differently across different agricultural landscapes (eg intensive arable vs extensive upland livestock production) and are there specific implications for the potentially ‘left behind’ communities within the UK Uplands? How can the model be ‘scaled-up’ from small-scale trials to a UK-wide scale?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of co-production a suitable model to deliver both practical policy outcomes and academically rigorous research? Are there differences in perception between academics and non-academics regarding what constitutes effective co-production? What constitutes co-production and what distinguishes it from other forms of research? How can quality and rigour be ensured in co-production research? Can research be both critical and practical?