Your help please: designing a research commissioning process for mySociety

We’re going to be commissioning several pieces of research as part of our Climate Programme over the next few months. We’ve not really commissioned research – publishing a proposal and inviting individuals and organisations to bid for it – before, so we want to build a new process we can use for our climate work and other projects across mySociety in future. We’re working with freelance consultant Gavin Freeguard to help us design this process. 

As part of developing that process, we’d love to hear from you. Have you had experience of commissioning research, and do you have views on what a good process looks like? Have you been on the receiving end, bidding for work, and do you have insights about how we can make things as straightforward and as effective as possible? If so, we’d be really interested in speaking to you – please get in touch at (or put a comment below).

We’re keen to explore all the parts of the process, including:

  • How to develop a proposal, including calculating budgets and timescales
  • Where to advertise, what to include in the published proposal and other information those bidding for the project would find helpful
  • How to assess applications and award the work
  • What to provide to successful applicants, to help them work with mySociety as seamlessly as possible
  • How to manage the project and assess progress as the work is conducted and concluded
  • How to evaluate the project and learn lessons once the work has been completed
  • How to maintain a relationship with the commissioner researchers/organisation.

We’re planning to publish a short report in the next few weeks summarising what we’ve learnt from others and how we plan to commission research in future. We want it to capture the best examples of what organisations are already doing and support other organisations who may need to develop a similar process in future. So please do get in touch if you have any ideas:

Header image: Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash