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Dr Alun Davies

Dr Alun Davies

Podcast interview

Engaging schools with health research

KWTRP Schools Engagement Programme, active for 10 years, invites students from 50 schools in Kilifi and Nairobi to interact with science and scientists. Strengthening science education allows us to explain why and how students can participate in research. It also inspires young people, raising their interest in science-related careers to conduct future health research.

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Alun Davies

B.Sc., MA, PhD.


Public Engagement

Planning, implementing and evaluating public engagement, youth involvement in research and participatory visual methods for engagement.

Alun Davies has two decades’ experience of health research and engagement, initially as research manager supporting the establishment of HIV clinical trials in Kenya and following this, as an engagement co-lead for public engagement at the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme (KWRP). His PhD on evaluating Public Engagement, provided a foundation for establishing an award-winning school engagement programme which aims nurturing an interest in science and research among young people and drawing from their unique insights towards improving research.  He led the growth of this initiative from a 3 school pilot, to a large programme facilitating annual engagement between researchers and 4000 students across over 50 schools across Kenya.

He has led and partnered with youth engagement initiatives in several multi-country initiatives aimed at drawing from youth perspectives towards informing, for example: an Antimicrobial Resistance learning framework for in-school and out-of-school education https://www.youthagainstamr.com.  Shigella Vaccine Human Infection Studies (at KWRP); and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report on “Children and Clinical Research: Ethical issues” .

He draws on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods for research and evaluation, combining participatory visual methods to enable wide audiences to hear from LMIC perspectives. A recent example of this is his role in the REACH(Resilience, Empowerment & Advocacy In Women’s And Children’s Health Research) study where he led the production of videos co-created with participants across Kenya, South Africa and Thailand. Other initiatives he leads, aimed at nurturing public engagement with health research in sub-Saharan Africa include working with author Tabitha Mwangi to produce a book featuring prominent health researchers from the continent; and the production of inspirational life-stories of Kenyan researchers. 

Currently Alun, among his engagement and research roles, leads a Technical Advisory Group for Good Participatory Practice for WHO’s Solidarity Trial Vaccines. He is also a key member/advisor of several international networks and groups including: the Global Health Bioethics Network); the NIHR CEI reviewer community of practice; and Wellcome Public Engagement Research Enrichment scheme committee. 

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