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Shared commitment to public involvement

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Published: 11 March 2022

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Funders, regulators and research organisations who play an important role in UK health and social care research have come together, working with members of the public, to sign up to a bold new shared commitment to improve public involvement in research.

Shared Commitment

Public involvement is important, expected and possible in all types of health and social care research.

Together our organisations and members fund, support and regulate health and social care research. This statement is our joint commitment to improve the extent and quality of public involvement across the sector so that it is consistently excellent.

People have the right to be involved in all health and social care research. Excellent public involvement is an essential part of health and social care research and has been shown to improve its quality and impact. People’s lived experiences should be a key driver for health and social care research.

When we talk about public involvement, we mean all the ways in which the research community works together with people including patients, carers, advocates, service users, and members of the community. Excellent public involvement is inclusive, values all contributions, ensures people have a meaningful say in what happens and influences outcomes, as set out in the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement. We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives. We will:

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement

We will embed this commitment into the decision-making processes of our organisations.

NIHR's Commitment

The NIHR is committed to strengthening our work with patients, service users, carers, communities and the public. This is a key part of our focus on tackling health inequalities, bringing research to under-served communities and regions, and embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in research. Building on the commitments in NIHR’s operational priorities, Best Research for Best Health: the Next Chapter, and on progress so far, we will:

  • Expect all research funded and supported by NIHR to demonstrate meaningful, diverse and inclusive involvement, and to show the difference it makes, in line with the UK Standards for Public Involvement and using tools such as the Race Equality Framework (to be published shortly).
  • Fully embrace community engagement, adapting NIHR systems and ways of working to increase the sharing of knowledge and power
  • Open up access to, and promote use of, the best of current evidence, learning and good practice in public involvement - in partnership with Shared Commitment signatories and public contributors - through the Learning for Involvement site
  • Identify and address gaps and weaknesses, learning from feedback, to make involvement more embedded and consistently experienced across NIHR systems and processes.

Organisations Involved

You can find more from each of the signatories – and what they will do - by clicking on the links below: