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Terms of reference: Community of practice for NIHR Global Health Research Units and Groups community engagement and involvement reviewers




A community of practice (COP) is a group of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and who engage in a process of active learning or sharing. For this COP pilot, we are involving a number of community engagement and involvement (CEI) experts and public contributors with lived experience from multiple regions across the Global South and North to review applications from a CEI perspective.

The purpose of the COP is:

  • To review applications for the Units Call 2/Groups Call 3 Phase 1 from a CEI perspective.
  • To discuss the CEI aspects of the applications with other members of the COP via an online platform/discussion board.
  • To share knowledge and experience around CEI.

The Units and Groups applications are expected to involve multiple countries and multi-morbidities, so the aim of the COP is to provide a more coherent, more relevant and wider CEI perspective for the review.

The COP will be virtual, operating largely through an online platform (Slack) (and via online communication (email) with NIHR staff). When final reviews are submitted, this will be done through NETSCC’s Management Information System (MIS).


Members who join the COP will act as the primary CEI reviewer for a maximum of five applications. Primary reviewers are defined as those who will have access to the full application and will submit the final review via MIS. Primary reviewers will be assigned to an application based on their expertise and relevance to the application content.

Before submitting the final review, reviewers will be able to utilise the COP to receive further feedback on applications.  On the online platform, discussion boards will be set up around each application. Each application will also be assigned a secondary reviewer (based on relevance to their expertise)  but all COP members will be given access to other applications to comment on if they wish (unless they are conflicted). Reviewers will be asked in advance if they have a preference for which applications they would like to contribute to in the COP. Note, members of the COP will not be able to view or comment on applications they are conflicted on. If needed, further comments will be sought from those with lived experience (this will be dependent on the context of the application). Only a reduced version of the application will be uploaded to the online platform - the summary and CEI section (redacted versions) - in order to adhere to data privacy rules.

All COP members are expected to utilise the discussion boards and consider comments before writing the final review for the application. COP members are expected to review the application from a CEI perspective.

The COP will be monitored by NETSCC staff members. Primary and secondary reviewers will be assigned to applications by NETSCC staff members.

Membership and operation

  • The NETSCC Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team and Global Health Research (GHR) team will be responsible for the administrative and monitoring aspects of the COP.
    COP members will be appointed by the NETSCC PPI and GHR teams.
  • The COP will consist of CEI experts or public contributors with lived experience. The knowledge and experience of members will be relevant to the research areas and LMIC contexts in the applications.
  • Members will participate in the COP pilot occurring in November 2020-February 2021, and will be added to our CEI reviewer database. The COP may happen for future GHR calls depending on the success of this pilot.
  • Members will join the Slack group (online platform) and take part in online discussions about the applications. Please note that only reduced and redacted versions of the applications would be uploaded to Slack in order to adhere to data privacy rules.
  • Members will provide all their comments via the online forums/discussion boards a week before the peer review comments deadline (8 February 2021), so that the primary reviewer will have a week to collate comments and write their final review before submitting via the MIS.
  • Members will act as a primary reviewer for 1-5 applications, and are expected to provide brief comments/feedback on up to 5 of the reduced applications that they are not a primary reviewer for via the online discussion boards.

Support arrangements

  • Induction materials will be available in December 2020 and will cover: what the COP is, how to use the online platform, the value of interacting with other reviewers, and tips on how to review. This session will be recorded so it can accessed at a later date. Support will be provided throughout the COP process.
  • Written guidance on how to review can be provided by the GHR team.
  • Members can contact the team on for further support.
  • Members of the COP may be offered £125 for their participation depending on their eligibility for payment (this covers collating comments and submitting final review/s via MIS, as well as commenting on the Plain English Summary and CEI section of up to 5 other applications. Please contact for further information on payment.
  • One-off payments of £50 will be available for those who provide comments on a small number of applications but do not submit a final review (e.g. patients providing comments from a lived experience on 1 or 2 applications).

Frequency and location of COP

The COP pilot will take place between January  and February 2021. Whether the COP approach to CEI reviewing occurs again for future GHR calls depends on the success of the pilot.