Published: 01 June 2020
Last year a four-nations partnership, including the NIHR, released a set of UK Standards for Public Involvement in research, which aimed to help researchers and organisations improve the quality and consistency of public involvement in health and social care research.
The standards were subject to a public consultation and piloting phase involving a network of over 400 registered individuals. In addition, the standards were tested in a year-long programme.
As part of this pilot programme, 10 projects were chosen to test and implement the draft standards during 2018–2019, providing feedback and suggestions. The selected projects spanned organisations, regions and research settings and varied in their size, experience of public involvement and research focus.
Now, a new handbook has been launched sharing the experiences of these projects in implementing the standards. The stories are designed to give a glimpse of the different ways the standards were implemented and integrated into ‘business as usual’ research, or as part of special projects.
In addition to setting out the context of each project, each story provides details about how the project applied the standards, which standards they focused on, what impact the standards had on their outcomes, and reflections about public involvement more broadly.
At the University of Glasgow the standards provided a rationale for ensuring that a small group of students undergoing their PhD programmes embraced public involvement, even if they were new to this way of working. As a result of this, all these students will have a chapter or section in their PhD thesis on the role and contribution from their public involvement partner, and will also co-write a research paper with this partner for publication in a research journal.
In a completely different context, The Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research in Wales used the ‘Working together’ standard to help develop a volunteering guide laying out the aims and purpose of the Centre as well as providing practical information about being a lay member. Feedback has suggested this guide has become a useful part of the induction and introduction to the Centre.
Although these are just two examples, the handbook of implementation stories demonstrates how the standards could be applied to research across many different contexts and organisations. The NIHR hopes the booklet will inspire researchers and members of the public to consider how the standards could be applied in their research or research involvement.