Involving the public

Members of the public involved in research

We expect active public involvement in the research that we fund. We recognise that the nature and extent of active public involvement is likely to vary depending on the context of each study or award. 

INVOLVE describes public involvement as an active partnership between the public and researchers in the research process

The public review research proposals to the NIHR, join our programme boards and panels to support our decision-making or are otherwise involved or participating in research.

Advice and support on public involvement in your research

INVOLVE provides advice and a range of resources on public involvement in research. These include:

Our Research Design Service provides advice and support to researchers on public involvement

People in Research provides public information about current opportunities for getting involved in research. Researchers and funders can use People in Research to advertise and invite people to get involved in their research.

Why public involvement is important

Involving the public in your research will improve its quality and relevance.

The public:

  • provide a different perspective - even if you are an expert in your field, your knowledge and experience will be different to the experience of someone who is using the service or living with a health condition
  • make the language and content of information such as questionnaires and information leaflets clear and accessible
  • help to ensure that the methods proposed for the study are acceptable and sensitive to the situations of potential research participants
  • help to ensure that the research uses outcomes that are important to the public
  • identify a wider set of research topics than if health or social care professionals had worked alone
  • help you increase participation in your research by making it more acceptable to potential participants.