I want to help with research
There are many ways that you can help NIHR by getting involved in its research and other activities
On these pages you can find out about the ways that you can help and also how you can find opportunities to get involved.
Patients, carers and service users help NIHR:
- improve the quality and relevance of research
- make sure research is acceptable and will benefit patients and carers
- support researchers and clinicians
We define patient and public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. This includes, for example, patients, carers and members of the public working with us to prioritise research, offering advice as members of a project steering group, commenting on and developing research materials, and undertaking interviews with research participants.
When we use the term ‘public’, we are including patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services. Whilst all of us are actual, former or indeed potential users of health and social care services, there is an important distinction to be made between the perspectives of the public and the perspectives of people who have a professional role in health and social care services.
Why is it important to get a public view point?
Can you help us?
- Do you have an interest in health and social care?
- Do you have experience of a health condition as a patient, carer or service user?
- Would you like to help others benefit from the research that we do?
- Do you have time on your hands - even just a few hours a month can help us?
Then NIHR needs you.
Patients, carers and members of the public can get involved in NIHR research in a number of ways
You can get involved in NIHR research by:
- suggesting a research question
- giving your opinion on potential research
- joining one of our decision-making committees
- becoming an ambassador for research.
Tom Grew got involved in research following his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 18.
Other ways you can get involved include helping to develop research questions, applying for funding and ethical approval and and disseminating the research findings. You can find opportunities to get involved at People in Research.
In 2017-18, almost 400 members of the public reviewed applications for NIHR research funding. Nearly 150 members of the public sat on committees that help us decide what work to fund. We also have over 400 Patient Research Ambassadors, who volunteer in hospitals and communities up and down the country to promote health research .
If you want to get involved have a think about why you want to get involved and what sort of thing you would like to do. You should also think about how much time you have and any experience and skills you might have. You might just want to attend a meeting, for example for project advisory groups, public events, reference groups or workshops.
There are a number of ways to recognise the contributions of members of the public who are actively involved in research.