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What is the Co-Design Living Labs Network?

The University of Melbourne Primary Care Mental Health Research Group established the Co-Design Living Labs program in 2017. There are more than 2000 people with lived-experience of mental ill-health and ongoing distress and trauma, including a smaller number of carers, family and kinship group members in the program. The program has grown over the five years to embed end to end research design to translation activities with people with lived-experienced. There are now has eight co-design leads who meet monthly with Network lead and postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Jennifer Bibb. The Network is overseen and supported by Professor Victoria Palmer and activities are coordinated through the University of Melbourne.

Scroll down to see The Co-Design Living Labs Operational Model, Our Services, Case Stories and The Co-Designer Handbook (current members access only).

The Co-Design Living Labs Philosophy of Practice paper

The Co-Design Living Labs program was established in 2017 as an example of a community-based embedded approach to bring people living with trauma and mental ill-health and carers/family and kinship group members together with university-based researchers to drive end-to-end research design to translation in mental healthcare and research sectors.

The Co-Design Living Labs Operational Model

We operate an end to end research design to translation model (as shown to the right). This means that we undertake co-design activities across the continuum of research that includes priority setting, ideation on a topic or product, co-designing a new model of care or technology or digital tool and adopting co-researcher models within research teams. We’re proud of our five-year journey to embed lived-experience within our mental health research program.

This is an image of the Co-Design Living Labs operating model. It shows the activities across research design to translation where people with lived-experience engage in co-design together.. This includes for priority setting, ideation, co-design of new models of care, innovations, technologies such as apps or web-based supports, making prototypes, co-research and dissemination and translations.

Our Services

Our Co-Design Living Labs members (co-designers) represent over 2000 people living with mental ill-health and carers, family, kinships group members. The Network can support co-design that delivers new models of care, pathways for improving care experiences, service re-design, systems transformation and all things health care improvement related.

Email us below to co-partner on co-design or to simply share a co-creation idea today.

Case stories

Read more about our experience co-design work by clicking on the case stories below.

Current Opportunities to Co-Design Together

No current co-design activities are underway but please email the team to express interest for our National Centre Public Co-Design activities.

The Co-Designer Handbook

This handbook is by, for and about working with Co-Designers in Living Labs program. It includes self-care, preparation and tips for what to expect in co-design. It shares our Principles of Participation and Working Together Agreements including the story of where we have come from – new members receive a copy of this handbook when they join. This handbook is only available for our Co-Design Living Labs network members.


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