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Director's Blog: What is Voice North?

  • 31/10/2016
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The ‘VOICE’ of Voice North stands for Valuing our Intellectual Capital and Experience. The ‘North’ is because as an organisation we are based in the North of England at Newcastle University.

Voice North is fundamentally about Valuing Experience - valuing the insight, the ideas and the knowledge that members of the public as consumers, as patients and as citizens have accumulated over the life course and is about effectively harnessing all that incredible experience to make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives, particularly through research and innovation.

We are an ever growing network of members of the public of all ages and walks of life, and increasingly from all parts of the UK and Europe. Members are interested in contributing to and co-designing and delivering creative solutions to some key challenges including Health and care; Ageing and Demographic Change; Sustainability and Future Communities and Cities. The Voice Digital Platform (or website to most of us) is intended to help more people get involved, wherever they are and contribute in a range of ways.

Voice North members are Research Active and Innovation Savvy Citizens. ‘Research Active’ because over the last few years, thousands of members have taken part in well over 600 research projects. These have ranged from setting priorities of what research should address, attending meetings, events and workshops and supporting the dissemination and translation of research for maximum impact. ‘Innovation Savvy’ because Voice North members work with scores of businesses and organisations, big and small, to help them develop products and services that are needed to help people live better, based on what they know from experience.

“As Voice North members we have access to scores of opportunities to learn about the latest evidence to help understand ‘what’s possible’ and in turn challenge and push boundaries – many innovative solutions come the public, from consumers themselves not only from scientists or businesses”.

This spirit of partnership and collaboration is essential to our success. Many of our members are now retired but have accumulated professional life experience having been teachers, architects, nurses, carers, designers, engineers, for example. Voice North is about volunteering this experience, taking part and contributing but also benefiting from learning about new issues, meeting new people and delivering real change. Together we are designing everything from lifetime homes, benches for city centres, helping develop and test driverless cars, packaging for consumer products, new medical devices and much, much more!

Join us. Get involved. Make a difference.

Dr Lynne Corner
Director, Voice North

 

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