Darren Sharpe

Dr Darren Sharpe

Postdoc Research Fellow

Participatory research with children, young people and vulnerable adults, policy and practice in public care

, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience

Darren is a Senior Research Fellow based at the Institute for Connected Communities (ICC) (sponsored by the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames) and is also a UCLP Researcher-in-Residence based with Newham Clinical Commissioning Group Primary Care Home team.

His expertise include participatory research with children, young people and vulnerable adults to help shape, inform and influence policy and practice in public care.

Areas Of Interest

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  • Race, culture and society, and research methods
  • Greater youth involvement in health and social care research
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OVERVIEW

Darren is a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Institute for Connected Communities (ICC) based at the University of East London (UEL) and holds a UCL Policy Fellowship with Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE). CAPE is a knowledge exchange and research project that explores how to support effective and sustained engagement between academics and policy professionals across the higher education sector. His expertise includes participatory research with children, young people and vulnerable adults to help interpret, inform and influence policy and practice in public care. During his time at UEL he also worked as a Senior Consultant at the Institute of Public Care, Oxford Brookes University supporting Local Authority Directors to tackle the social care challenges facing children, young people and families. 

Darren is a social scientist with over 25 years' experience in applied research to promote health, wellbeing and citizenship to help reduce social inequalities. In recognition of his work, Darren received the UEL VC&P Global Engagement Award and the UEL PVC for Impact and Innovation Award for Local-Global Engagement in 2021. Darren leads several COVID-19 studies investigating interventions that target the wider social determinants of health in children, young people and vulnerable adults. His research spans the entire life course, with a specific focus on service improvement and transformation. He has served as a Researcher-in-Residence in public and third sector organisations in order to co-produced and test new social models of health and social care among underserved communities. Examples include the Tower Hamlets Communities Driving Change programme, which examines how to embed community development approaches in local authorities, and the Connect Hackney Ageing Better programme which is testing a suite of community activities to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst older people, and finally, Youth Safeguarding Network programme ran in Rwanda, Zambia, South Africa and Sierra Leone, which examines how best to unlock community assets to address the mental health and social needs of disabled and disadvantaged youth. Darren has led research, consultancy, and training on patient and public involvement in health and social care transformation, including research which has shaped the national roll-out of the NIHR sponsored Young Commissioner model. 

Darren is also recognised as a world leading expert in young people's involvement in research leading to policy developments and his work features in the Guardian, Observer, Financial Times, BBC radio and Euro News and more. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Evidence Based Public Health and Co-production in Community Health. Darren's research is interdisciplinary and inter-professional, and he works with a wide range of research methods from participatory action research through to implementation science. His research has led to direct impact on policy, practice and the public through, for example, EU guidance in the use of social media to help reduce the risk of youth suicide in Europe, and integration into NICE guidelines of findings from a young commissioner’s model into a tool kit published by NHS England ('How to develop youth forums in the NHS'). He is on the editorial board on the journal of Youth Voices and has published extensively and has secured funding from national and international bodies such as NIHR, ESRC, Erasmus Plus, and British Academy as well as local health trusts and charities.

External roles

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  • 2008-present Academy of Ideas, Debating Matters Judge
  • 2009-present Associate at The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation, UCLAN
  • 2014-Present Fellow of the Young Foundation
  • 2015-Present Member of the University of East London School Research Degree Sub-Committee (SRDC)
  • 2016-Present Consultant Pool, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
  • 2016-Present Member of the University of East London Research Ethics Committee (UREC)
  • 2017-Present Editorial Board member and Reviewer, Youth Voice Journal, by the IARS International Institute.
  • 2017–Present Journal Peer reviewer, British Medical Journal
  • 2017-Present Fellow of Plus Value Ltd
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CURRENT RESEARCH

Participatory research at critical moments along the life course

  • Connect Hackney Researcher-in-Residence
  • Co-I Tower Hamlets Tower Hamlets Council Communities Driving Change
  • Co-I Metropolitan/JP Morgan Transform and Achieve Evaluation
  • Extended Primary Care Team, Community Health Newham Directorate Researcher-in-Residence
  • Me and Europe - Information website for Young People, ESRC

Expertise/research interests:

  • Citizen Science
  • User and patient involved research
  • Innovative research methods and methodologies
  • Identity, space and belonging in Europe
  • Youth policy 

Recently completed and current projects:

  • 'Optimal care for 'hard to reach' children and young people with diabetes: identifying and overcoming the barriers through community engagement', PI Angela Harden.
  • Sharpe, D. (2014) An Examination of Chelmsford Night Time Economy, Chelmsford: Chelmsford City Council Safer Chelmsford Partnership.
  • Sharpe, Waller, T. Lane P. Almond, P. Machin, N. (2014) SUPREME Guidelines: Report on Best Practices for Suicide Prevention using Internet and Media. Report prepared for the European Commission's Executive Agency for Health and Consumers.
  • Sharpe, D. Cossar, J., Brandon, M., Bailey, S., Belderson, P., and Biggart, L. (2013) 'It takes a lot to build trust'. Recognition and Telling: Developing Earlier Routes to Help for Children and Young People. London: Office of the Children's Commissioner.

Research Field 1:

  • Young Commissioners: North Thames CLAHRC (ARC)

Research Field 2:

  • Ageing Better: Connect Hackney and Big Lottery Fund

PUBLICATIONS

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  • Sharpe, D. & Herlitz, L. (2019). "Rapid testing of service innovations in general practice: an evaluation of the Primary Care Home model in Newham". Centre for Implementation Science (CIS), King’s College London. Proceedings from the 2nd Annual UK Implementation Science Research Conference, Advancing the science of scaling up: improving efficiency and effectiveness of implementation strategies in health care. London, 18 July 2019. Implementation Science 2019, 14 (Suppl 2):69 (P27) https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-019-0911-5
  • Sharpe, D. Harden, A, Rudd, J. Green, G. Moodambail, A. & Hakeem, V. (in preparation) Supporting 'disengaged' children and young people living with diabetes to self-care: A qualitative study in socially disadvantaged and ethnically diverse urban areas, BMJ.
  • Wasike M, Hamilton R, Sharpe D (2019) A professional development programme for care home nurses in east London. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1135
  • Sharpe, D. (2018) The Making of Democratic Actors: Counting the Costs of Public Cuts in England on Young People's Steps towards Citizenship. Societies, 8(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040111
  • Sharpe, D., Green, E., Harden, A., Freer, R., Moodambail, A. and Towndrow, S. (2018) "'It’s my diabetes": Co-production in practice with young people in delivering a "perfect" care pathway for diabetes'. Research for All, 2 (2): 289–303. DOI https://doi.org/10.18546/R4A.02.2.07.
  • Sharpe, D. (2018) Pork Pies and Vindaloos: Learning for cosmopolitan citizenship, Educational Review. Vol 70, No.1, Pages 41-50. 
  • Wilson, C. & Sharpe, D. (2017) Promoting young people's mental health and wellbeing through participation in the arts: A mixed-methods service evaluation of the Zinc Arts ArtZone programme, IN: Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Vol 8, No.1, pp. 38-55.
  • Henn, M. and Sharpe, D. (2016) Young people in a changing Europe. British youth and Brexit 2016.In: UK Election Analysis 2015: Media, Voters and the Campaign. Available at: http://www.referendumanalysis.eu/eu-referendum-analysis-2016/section-8-voters/young-people-in-a-changing-europe-british-youth-and-brexit-2016/ [Accessed 18 December 2016].
  • Sharpe, D. and Henn, M., 2016. UK young voters are not anti EU but just don't understand it. E! Sharp.
  • Henn, M. and Sharpe, D. (2014) 'European democratic politics in crisis?', So… The School of Social Sciences Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2014, pp.8-9  http://www.ntu.ac.uk/soc/document_uploads/167854.pdf
  • Sharpe, D. (2014) Independent Thinkers and Learners: A critical evaluation of the 'Growing Together Schools Programme', In: Pastoral Care in Education, 32(3).197-207.
  • Sharpe, D. (2014) Young people's involvement in policy research, Children's Geographies, Vol 13(2). 240-248
  • Sharpe, D. (2009) The value of young people doing research: where do young people's count? In: Research, Policy and Planning: The Journal of the Social Services Research Group 27(2), pp-pp97-106.
  • Boeck, T. & Sharpe, D. (2009) An exploration of participatory research with young people, In: Coyote, Strasbourg, The Council Europe and the European Commission, No.14.
  • Jessiman, T. and Sharpe, D. (2008) 'The Value of Young Researchers', Children and Young People Now, 24-30 September, p. 37
  • Publications: Sharpe, D. Waller. T, Lane, P., and Almond, P. (In press) Exploring Adolescents’ Experience of Participation in a Randomised Control Trial and Survey of Suicide Prevention using the Internet.
  • Sharpe, D. & Boeck, T. (2009) An exploration of participatory research with young people, In: Coyote, Strasbourg, The Council Europe and the European Commission, No.14.
  • Sharpe, D. & Törrönen, M. (In press) Children and Young People in Social Work, In: (Ed) Törrönen, M. Reciprocal Social Work, Helsinki, Gaudeamus.
  • Sharpe, D. (2014) Independent Thinkers and Learners: A critical evaluation of the ‘Growing Together Schools Programme’, In: Pastoral Care in Education, 32(3).197-207.
  • Sharpe, D. (2014) Young people's involvement in policy research, Children's Geographies, Vol 13(2). 240-248
  • Sharpe, D. (2009) The value of young people doing research: where do young people's count? In: Research, Policy and Planning: The Journal of the Social Services Research Group 27(2), pp-pp97-106.
  • Sharpe, D. & Boeck, T. (2009) An exploration of participatory research with young people, In: Coyote, Strasbourg, The Council Europe and the European Commission, No.14.
  • Sharpe, D. Moules, T. (2014) Research with Children and Young People, In: Thurston, C. (Ed) Essential Nursing Care for Children and Young People, London, Routledge.
  • Sharpe, D. (2012) How to make research a positive experience: Ensuring adequate training, preparation and support, In: Fleming, J. & Boeck, T. (Ed) Involving Children and Young People in Health and Social Care, London, Routledge.
  • Sharpe, D. (2009) The value of young people doing research: where do young people's count? In: Research, Policy and Planning: The Journal of the Social Services Research Group 27(2), pp-pp97-106.
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TEACHING

Young Commissioners Model

Co-Designing Community-Based Diabetes Services Responsive to the Needs of Children and Young People (CLAHRC Diabetes Study)

Find out more

MODULES

The list of modules and lectures below represent a range of foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes that I have (co) designed and delivered 2005-2018.

Foundation

  • Research Skills Training: Commercialisation of CYP, Diana Awards
  • Research Skills Training: Brooks Young People's Sexual Health
  • Young Researcher Network Training Programme, NYA
  • Young Commissioners Training programme, UEL

Undergraduate

  • Demythologizing research with children and young people, ARU
  • Doing research reflectivity: the case of disability research ARU
  • Interviews and focus groups, ARU
  • 'Race', Culture and Society, NTU
  • Qualitative Research Methods and Methodologies, NTU
  • Research methods in Criminology, Iboro
  • Research Skills Training: Secondary Data, UEL
  • Research Skills Training: Risk Assessment, UEL
  • 'Race', Ethnicity and Education, ARU

Postgraduate

  • Action Research: problem solving approach, ARU
  • Commissioning and Purchasing for Public Care: Children's Service, Oxford Brookes University

Doctoral

  • Designing questionnaires and surveys, ARU
  • Analysing qualitative data, ARU
  • Qualitative approaches to research, ARU
  • Research Ethics, ARU
  • Qualitative Research Methods: Interviews, Documentary sources and Observations, ARU
  • Continuing Professional Development

Most of my current teaching is concentrated on training practitioner-researchers (public and third sector workers) in real world settings as part of their continuing professional development. For instance:

  • eCPD module funded and hosted by Barts Health and North Thames CLARHC. Available here: http://www.ehealthpd.com/ecpd/
  • Evaluation mentor for providers implementing the Communities Driving Change Programme on behalf of Tower Hamlets Public Health Team (2018–22)
  • Workforce development for Dudley Council Integrated Commissioning Hub & Children and Youth Services (2018–19)
  • Evaluation mentor for Public Health England Youth Champions Programme (2016–17)
  • IPC, Oxford Brookes University Clinical Commissioning 4 day Course (2017-18)
  • Family First Limit, Member of the Equality and Diversity Review Group (EDIT): staff trainer/facilitator of equality and diversity in the workplace, 2003-04
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PhD Students

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  • Sharon Clarke (part time) The 'voice' of children requiring palliative care: A Mosaic Approach (supervised with Dr Geraldine Davis)
  •  Karen Badlan (full-time) Explorations into Young People's Political Literacy: How well equipped are young people for political engagement? (From 2nd to 1st to 2nd supervisor due to change of Institution). Awarded PhD August 2017
  •  Emma Green (full-time) An Exploration of an Asset-based Approach to the Management of Diabetes in Young People: A qualitative participatory approach (2nd Supervisor) Viva 2019
  • Nick Marsh (full-time) Adolescents at Risk: An exploratory study of contemporary attitudes and the systemic response to adolescent females at risk of sexual harm and exploitation (2nd supervisor). Started 2018
  • Theeba KRISHNAMOORTHY (full-time) Multi-stakeholder attitudes towards young peoples' Relationship and Sex Education for Sri Lankan Tamil Young People in the UK. Theeba Started 2017
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