The Participatory Research Network (PRN)

A cross-faculty initiative bringing together like-minded researchers

A film introducing the participatory research network

The Participatory Research Network at the University of Sheffield (PRN) is an established cross-faculty Network that supports participatory research and researchers.

PRN is a space for all people, from any discipline or practice, to come together to enjoy and celebrate participatory research; a space to learn from each other in terms of some of the challenges and barriers to doing participatory research in academic contexts; and a commitment to changing and re-shaping some of the university structures in which participatory research is embedded.

PRN has three key principles towards reshaping and supporting research cultures at the University:

  1. Firstly, that academics, students, researchers and professional services colleagues at all levels across the University benefit from cross-faculty spaces and connections created through PRN.
  2. Secondly, that everything we do remains committed to the Researcher Concordat - we have a strong postgraduate (PGR) and early career (ECR) presence in PRN, both in the Committee and in the wider PRN community, and want to nurture and support research careers.
  3. Thirdly, the Network aims to support developments towards more inclusive research principles which centre equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in how we think about and carry out research with others, both inside and outside of the University. 

To learn more about how PRN became established, see here.

A PRN image of a wheelchair and a standard chair

Our community, research and advocacy

  • PRN is currently co-led by a vibrant committee of 16 academics, early and mid-career researchers, postgraduate colleagues, and professional services staff from 12 different departments. Our broader PRN membership has grown to 160 members across all 5 faculties. 
  • PRN supports Research England institutional Participatory Research Calls. 
  • PRN support postgraduate researchers undertaking in participatory research. This has led us to two funded research projects which have creatively explored PGR experiences of participatory research in university research cultures. For example, listen to our podcasts for early career researchers on the University Player here!
  • We regularly host online and in-person research fika. We invite anyone interested in Participatory Research for our regular informal Fika meetups. Fika [Fee-ka] is a standard practice in offices and workplaces in Sweden, and means a cup of coffee/tea, snack (could be a cinnamon bun) and a chat with colleagues and friends. 
  • We also regularly host events and training related to participatory research. For example, in July 2023 we hosted The politics and practicalities of payment in participatory researchYou can access artistic outcomes from the day here.

Upcoming events and activities coming soon

  • A bespoke participatory training programme about creative and participatory research approaches for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) from any discipline. Further details will follow.
  • Workshops on children and young people as researchers and the realities of paying people in precarious positions in research. Further details will follow.
  • Our annual PRN Research England Participatory Research Showcase is taking place on Wednesday 18th September 2024 (10.00am-14.00pm; The Wave). Further details will follow.
  • A training workshop for participatory researchers on Intellectual Property Rights and Participatory Research with Naomi Korn Associates, a UK-based company, specialising in intellectual property, copyright, licensing and data protection. Further details will follow.

How can I get more involved in PRN?

  • Join our mailing list to learn more about PRN, associated events, training and resources - please email
  • Do you have a participatory research project that you would like to be showcased or promoted through PRN? If so, get in touch!
  • If you have any ideas for events which centre participatory research that PRN could support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
  • Follow us on Twitter! @PRNTUOS
  • If you have any questions about PRN, please email
An graphic note about why participatory research matters to our communities
Graphic note taking: The Politics of Payment (Nifty Fox)
A graphic note about barriers and challenges to participatory research
Graphic note: Politics of Payment (Nifty Fox)
A graphic note about re-imagining participatory research in our universities
Graphic note: Politics of Payment (Nifty Fox)
Robot reading books

Our work

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The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.