Knowledge Mobilisation, Public and Community Involvement

Lead: Sally Sheard (University of Liverpool)

Social science research is focussing on the well-being of healthcare workers and the general public; understanding how individuals, communities and health care systems perceive risk; developing effective communication strategies for public and policy understanding of disease transmission and prevention; supporting the development of resilient populations and wider socio-economic systems.

Ongoing projects

Researchers in Cheshire and Merseyside have come together to share their knowledge and learnings of the effect of COVID-19 on local people. A series of studies are taking place across our Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to understand how the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has affected the region’s population.

    University of Liverpool

Covid-Liv Cohort Study: The Psychological and social impact of Covid-19

  Prof. Kate Bennett and Prof. Rhiannon Corcoran. 

This study explores the psychological and social impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions on disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Liverpool City Region. Discover more about the methodology and latest findings here:

Understanding choice, control and risk in public and community responses to Covid-19  across the health divide to inform public health strategies in the UK and Malawi

   Prof Mark Gabbay and Dr Nicola Desmond

The aim of this research project is to understand the perception and actions around risk related to the pandemic. 

Testimonies of Care in the Context of Covid-19: meditations on medical and healthcare work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital

   Prof Ciara Kierans, Prof Bridget Young; Dr. Sylviane Defres, Dr Fran Sherratt, Dr Morven Cook

We are working with healthcare staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to generate a sample of accounts of providing care in the context of Covid-19. This project will provide a living document of healthcare practice, as well as the challenges for supporting staff. 

Let’s Keep Talking

   Prof. Philippa Hunter Jones , Chloe Spence & Dr Rachel Spence

This is an evaluation of a telephone-based mental health support service introduced in response to the first COVID-19 lockdown, and the mental health trauma experienced by people unable to access support. Details of our work and latest findings can be found at:

Covid-19 Community Mental Health Teams study

   Prof. Elizabeth Perkins

This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on people working in community mental health teams (CMHTs). 

Optimising COVID-19 adaptations for ethical, equitable and quality delivery of essential health services and more resilient health systems

   Prof. Sally Theobald, Dr. Lucy Frith, Prof. Miriam Taegtmeyer, Dr. Laura Dean

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on health systems in the UK and Liberia and learn to promote stronger health systems in the immediate recovery phase and beyond. The study brings together teams from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool, and from Liberia. Read our policy brief here:  Principle-Comparison-Policy-Brief-Proof-2.2.pdf (

Responding to the COVID-19 economic (after)shocks: Developing learning and resources to strengthen the resilience of the Liverpool City Region economy

   Prof. Mark Boyle and Sue Jarvis

Utilising a global comparative method this project asks: On which metrics have British cities failed the COVID-19 test? Why have British cities failed them? What does failure tell us about what leaders need to fix? Find out more by reading our policy briefs here:

Generating actionable evidence for containing the spread of misinformation

   Dr. Mark Green

This project supports response operations through studying the emotional responses of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly focusing on the spread of misinformation and ‘fake news’ on social media. Read more about our findings here:

When pandemic and everyday ethics collide: supporting ethical decision-making in maternity care and paediatrics during the Covid-19 pandemic – NHS Reset Ethics

   Lucy Frith, Caroline Redhead, Anna Chiumento, Heather Draper, Sara Fovargue,

In April 2020, the UK Government declared that non COVID-19 clinical services must resume but that capacity to manage subsequent waves of COVID-19 should be maintained.  This created a unique ‘reset’ context in which it became critical to consider how ethical considerations did, and should, underpin decisions.  Our central aim is to evaluate and support ‘reset’ decision-making by generating a practical ethical framework and training materials to guide practice in this area. Find out more by visiting  our Reset Ethics website.

Exploring remote working practices for patient public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in health and social care research – responding to Covid-19 and rising health inequalities

   Lucy Frith, Shaima Hassan, Mark Gabbay, Muhammad Hossain, Verity Watson,

This project focuses on the shift to remote forms of working in patient public involvement and engagement (PPIE) brought on by Covid-19 prevention measures. It is important to consider how social distancing, ongoing forms of lock-down and the resultant economic down-turn will affect participation and diversity in PPIE. Developing good remote working practices in PPIE is becoming increasingly important for all health and social care research carried out in the UK.

Covid-19 CARE - Culture and the Arts, from Restriction to Enhancement: Protecting Mental Health in the Liverpool City Region

   Prof. Josie Billington

This UKRI/AHRC-funded project seeks to assess the impact of COVID-19 on arts and cultural provision in the Liverpool City Region and on the mental health of those whom arts and cultural organisations serve. Read our Heseltine Policy Brief or find further details about the study here.

The effects of Covid-19 measures on mental health of Syrian refugees in Istanbul

   Dr. Luca Bernardi

Funded by a COVID-19 ODA Rapid Response Fund, this project was designed to understand the effects of Covid-19 measures on the mental health of Syrian refugees in Istanbul. Further details can be found here.

The consequences of Covid-19 responses on mental health and political attitudes

   Dr. Luca Bernardi

The project is funded by a British Academy Special Research Grant on COVID-19 to understand the consequences of Covid-19 responses on mental health and political attitudes in Britain.

Being Alone Together: Developing Fake News Immunity

   Dr. Elena Musi

The project is about empowering citizens to understand and engage with the information manipulations they encounter on the Internet during COVID-19. The goal is to reverse-engineer the manipulation of information providing citizens with the means to act as fact checkers and communication gatekeepers with the means to avoid creating and spreading misleading news. Further information is available at:

Examining the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the mental health of health and social care workers due to possible embitterment about what happened during the pandemic response.

   Prof. Jon Cole and Chloe Brennan

We are examining the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the mental health of health and social care workers due to possible embitterment about what happened during the pandemic response. For more information, here is a video made by the project team:

Understanding the dynamics of policy development and healthcare worker behaviour in the UK during the COVID-19 public health emergency

   Prof. Sally Sheard, Dr Nina Gobat, Dr Paul Atkinson, Prof Tom Solomon

In an infectious disease outbreak, public health policymakers are under tremendous pressure, especially from the media. They must respond rapidly to and take decisions which impact enormously on healthcare provision. This project aims to understand how UK policymakers have arrived at decisions during  COVID-19, and the impact of those decisions on healthcare workers.

Prof Sally Sheard and colleagues are studying conventional and social media trends during the COVID-19 epidemic, and are linking these to changes in UK policy, gaining unique insights through collaboration with key policy players. These include members of the Strategic Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that advises the Government, and Public Health England leaders. These experts are recording information on key meetings and events and giving regular interviews in which their perspectives can be captured in real-time.

Sheard's team also examines the impact of the policy changes on healthcare workers in general practice and hospitals, through interviews and observations. Healthcare workers' perspective on delivering care during the epidemic, and how they perceive the changes in policy is fed back to policymakers during the outbreak. The approach is novel because policy decisions are usually only studied after an event, making the findings less reliable.

This research was piloted with pump-prime funding from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool, and has been scaled up with support from the Medical Research Council.

Lives on Hold, Our Stories Told (LOHST): Exploring The Legal and Social Impacts of Covid-19 on Young Unaccompanied Asylum-Seekers in England

   Professor Helen Stalford, Dr Elaine Chase, Dr Jana Kreppner

This research will provide the first detailed study of the legal and welfare effects of COVID-19 on unaccompanied asylum seekers aged 16 – 25.  The study will give a voice to young unaccompanied asylum seekers, with a focus on Albaniansas a particularly marginalised group. For further information visit:

Implications of COVID-19 for modern slavery challenges in supply chain management

   Dr Bruce Pinnington, Dr Joanne Meehan, Dr Rachel Brockley

This research will explore challenges in addressing modern slavery in corporate supply chains whilst responding to COVID-19 disruptions. Insights into (de)prioritisation of modern slavery will provide evidence on whether existing progress is being undermined. Further information can be found here:

Exploring the use of remote and digital/online services, and the perceived effectiveness of this mode of delivery in addressing young people’s mental health needs.

   Prof. Rhiannon Corcoran, Dr. Shaima Hassan and Dr. Joanne Worsley

With funding from Liverpool CCG’s Research Capability Funding, this study will use mixed methods to explore children, young people, parent/carer and service providers’ experiences of online services delivered by Liverpool’s CAMHS team.

Liverpool John Moores University

Health & Equity in Recovery Plans Working Group

   Lisa Jones & Dr Andy Turner (Combined Authority)


PHOENIX project: A survey of People and Households Ongoing Efforts in Response to the National COVID-19 Guidance and its Impacts Across

   Prof Viv Hope

The PHOENIX project is a study examining how government restrictions about social distancing have been received, to understand the health and wellbeing-related impact, and to explore if and how these impacts differ across population groups.

Incorporating COVID-19 surveillance into Intelligence & Monitoring Systems

   Mark Whitfield and Prof Viv Hope


Strengthening the public health response to violence against women and children

   Prof Zara Quigg

The project has been delivered in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and involved an assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on violence against women and children across the European Region, and public health responses to assist WHO in supporting country prevention and response efforts. Our latest paper can be found here:

Local assessment of unmet needs in communities

   Dr Hannah Timpson 

This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on 71 Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) organisations organisations across the Liverpool City Region. 

 Edge Hill

An exploratory study of cyberbullying and cyberstalking in the academic context during COVID-19

   Dr Anna Bussu, Dr Sally Ann Ashton, Prof. Manuela Pulina (University of Sassari-Italy)

The study aims to examine stalking-related behaviours and whether exposure to such behaviour was related to respondents’ self-perception of being a stalking victim. It will be focused on cyberstalking and cyberbullying. It will explore the impact of cyberstalking and cyberbullying on students’ and staff life, their knowledge and reactions to these behaviours during the pandemic.

Arts for the Blues: An evidence-based creative psychological group intervention for depression - adapting to the new Covid-19 world

   Prof Vicky Karkou

We are looking to understand how recruitment, research tools and treatment manuals of an evidence-based creative psychological group intervention can be modified to reflect client needs and structures in diverse community and NHS services. For more detailed information please visit:

A multi-levelled evidence-based creative psychological intervention to support NHS clinical staff affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: a feasibility study

   Prof Vicky Karkou

The study will evaluate a creative psychological intervention for NHS clinical staff affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in one NHS Trust. The intervention is based on previous research with patients with depression called Arts for the Blues which we will adapt to the needs of NHS staff affected by the pandemic.

A systematic review of the contribution of the arts in supporting the mental health of the general public, patients and frontline staff during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020

   Prof Vicky Karkoul


NURSe COVID study: a qualitative exploration of experiences of Nurses with Respiratory Skills working during the COVID-19 Pandemic

   Carol Kelly

This study aims to explore respiratory nurses’ experiences, approaches and adaptations to respiratory patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges, learning and adaptions warrant sharing within the respiratory nursing community, the wider nursing and respiratory communities, and the NHS.

An exploratory study of attitudes and awareness of Covid-19 among emergency medical service workers in several European countries

   Kacper Sumera

The aim of this project was to measure emergency medical service workers’ knowledge, attitudes, perception and risk of COVID-19 to themselves and the general public, including their views of policies and procedures designed to manage the pandemic. The study has been conducted in several European countries.

An exploration of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on individual and organisational performance in an NHS Ambulance Service in England.

   Paresh Wankhade

This study examines the impacts of the pandemic context on the lived experience of individual and small groups and teams in an Ambulance Service setting and its implications for organisational response including lessons learned for preparedness and planning.


Linked studies  

The C19PRC Study

The scale of the recent COVID-19 outbreak has been unprecedented. Ordinary people have experienced sudden and drastic changes to the way they live, work and socialise with their families and friends. . This unique study, led by Professor Richard Bentall, aims to monitor and assess the long-term psychological, social, economic and political impact of the pandemic on the lives of ordinary adults in the general population. Professor Kate Bennett [link to staff profile] from the University of Liverpool is working on this study with colleagues at the Universities of Sheffield, Ulster, University College London, and Royal Holloway University of London. More information can be found at


The COVID Hot Potato 9 

This week the hottest ‘hot potato’ is the open letter in the British Medical Journal from the Presidents of Royal Colleges calling for a rapid review of preparations for a second wave of COVID-19, and a focus on areas of weakness where action is needed to prevent further loss of life 

The COVID Hot Potato 8

This week: As the UK COVID-19 response transitions from crisis management to a longer-term strategy, we look at evidence submitted to the Select Committee inquiry by Prof Sally Sheard. This draws on analyses of previous epidemics to evaluate the utility of a public inquiry after COVID-19, and highlights the need for reform to ensure that inquiry recommendations are implemented.

The COVID Hot Potato 7

This week: Healthcare professionals in hospital and community settings are putting plans in place for how to take the next steps in the COVID-19 response, but a lack of communication about the length of time ‘emergency’ response measures will be in place contributes to exhaustion and difficulties implementing these plans.   

The COVID Hot Potato 6

This week: Healthcare professionals question why the evidence that shapes clinical guidance is not routinely shared with them. They highlight the challenge of adapting to frequent changes, express worries regarding the lack of transparency about the drivers behind high-level decision-making, and want to be better informed.

The COVID Hot Potato 5

This week: General practitioners (GPs) describe the challenge of managing patient referrals to hospital services after the initial suspension of non-urgent and routine referrals during the peak of COVID-19. Despite NHS England guidance advising that referrals should resume, ongoing difficulties and inability to refer patients has produced extra work, and challenges in identifying who is responsible for patients’ care.

The COVID Hot Potato 4

This week: Healthcare professionals reflect on health system resilience, with those in Scotland talking about how relationship-building within and between community and hospital teams has been important in responding well to COVID-19.

The COVID Hot Potato 3

This week: Staff report anxiety and frustration that communication channels are often not effective. GPs, hospital doctors, and nurses have experienced this in different ways.

The COVID Hot Potato 2

As COVID-19 comes under control we need to share how local NHS services have adapted to cope with demand to “build back better” services for wave 2. 

Emerging issue: Finding agile ways of sharing and implementing the best COVID-19 health service innovations around the UK.

The COVID Hot Potato

Patients with non-COVID illnesses are suffering: healthcare professionals report the hospital capacity exists, but we need the strategy now.

Emerging issue: Hospitals need a government lead on the lockdown exit strategy to plan the right mix of services as health needs change following the COVID-19 ‘peak’.