We recruit and support patients, carers and members of the public to give feedback on health and social care research funding applications.
It's a nice feeling to know that you are part of something that will help change and improve things in the bigger picture.
-Rosie Forder - Public Reviewer
As well as members of the public, reviews are sought from health care professionals, researchers, health economists and other professionals. This means that you only need to give us your opinion based on your experience of being a patient, carer or user of health and social care services.
What will happen if you are invited to do a review?
You can sign up to review potential research through our online Reviewer Match service.
Once you have registered as a public reviewer, you may be invited to review research proposals for one of two NIHR coordinating centres:
- the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF)
- the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC).
The type of documents you may be asked to review include a research or commissioning brief and a research funding application.
What is a research or commissioning brief?
A research or commissioning brief is developed by the NIHR. It describes a potential area of research. A public reviewer will help decide whether the proposed research topic should be advertised. Researchers can then apply to do research in the advertised area.
What is a research funding application?
Researchers applying for NIHR funding complete a form describing what research they want to do and how they want to do it. A public reviewer will help to inform the funding committee as to whether the research should be funded.
You would read the documents at home and submit comments online.
The reviewing process
- The proposal - We receive a document proposing a research study.
- The right match - The research topic of the document is matched to a member of the public who has personal experience as a patient, carer or member of the public who is affected by the issues being researched.
- The review - The patient, carer or member of the public reads and assesses the application’s strengths and weaknesses.
- The funding decision - Public, professional and scientific reviewers’ comments are fed back to researchers applying for funding and to the research advisory committee which makes funding decisions.
Guidance and support
We’ve developed an interactive training course for the public on reviewing funding applications for research. The training includes a module on things to consider when reviewing a research commissioning brief or funding application.
Guidance is available on what's involved in the review process for research proposals submitted to CCF or NETSCC. We also offer a template of the form for reviewing research proposals submitted to CCF, so you can see what questions you'll be asked to consider.
You may wish to consider these ‘top tips’ created with public reviewers and also hear from some of the people involved in reviewing.
Payment for reviewing work might affect those in receipt of state benefits or those working in the public sector.