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Dr Laura Wareing

Senior Research Associate for Prehabilitation for Cancer Surgery: Quality and Inequality

Laura Wareing

Furness Building



Tel: +44 1524 510891

Research overview

Laura's research interests include: co-design, participatory design, co-production, working with underrepresented groups, place-based approaches, addressing inequalities, co-design for policy making, inclusive and equitable design and healthcare services.

Research Interests

  • Collaborative design (co-design) and participatory design methodologies, mindsets, processes and tools.
  • Healthcare design for improved interactions between people, solving complex challenges, services, systems and policies.
  • Creating equity (particularly with regards to health and the social determinants of health) for groups that underserved due to their socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and geographical location.
  • Inclusive and equitable meaningful involvement of the public and patients.
  • Influencing positive change for services and systems, particularly in place-based approaches, healthcare and employment/education systems,
  • Research to support the use and recognition of design practice and research applied beyond the transactional production of artefacts in healthcare.
  • Generating knowledge and capacity for individuals and organisations to deliver sustainable and embedded co-design processes.

Career Details

Laura joined Lancaster Medical School in March 2022 to work on a project awarded funding by the Vice Chancellor's Prize for Participatory Research in partnership with Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme.  In the medical school, Laura's research has focused on creative and inclusive engagement with underrepresented people in healthcare design and improving quality and equity in prehabilitation cancer services.

Laura has over 10 years of experience of working on co-design, knowledge exchange and public sector engagement research in ImaginationLancaster, an internally recognised design research lab at Lancaster University. 

Laura's applied research has focused on using co-design approaches to create equitable work and learning opportunities for young people in underserved locations in the North West of England.  Her doctoral research has had significant impact in seven coastal, rural and former industrial towns with four regional and national organisations.  Furthermore, the research was been cited as making a significant contribution to research on co-creation internationally, was selected for exhibition at London Design Week in 2019, was instrumental in generating over £130k in funding for local organisations and was selected as an examplar case study for a government committee in 2020.

During her time at Imagination, Laura worked collaboratively with organisations including the NHS, Scottish Government, The V&A Museum, Lancashire County Council and Healthwatch.  In 2020, she worked on the Design Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership with Professor Paul Rodgers. Laura has led the design of many of the public sector engagement tools for the Leapfrog Project, IDEAS for Impact and New IDEAS projects.  Notably, she is the designer of the widely used 'Hexagon Tool', hexagon shaped cards that connect together to allow people to capture and build on ideas together.

Laura has a background in professional design (product and service) and has won a prestigious first place award from the Royal of Society of Arts for her design work focusing on social change.  She continues to apply her design skills in her research.

Laura is active on Twitter and also LinkedIn


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