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Become a reviewer

The NIHR’s research is shaped in collaboration with patients, service users, carers and communities. People contribute at every stage of the research, from design and development to sharing results with the public.

One way you can contribute to research is by becoming a public reviewer.

The NIHR has two main public review opportunities:

  • Become a Proposal Reviewer - where members of the public review documents about a proposed research topic (pre-study)
  • Become an Evidence Reviewer - where members of the public review summaries of research papers (post-study)

Read more about each type of review to find out which suits you best.

Why get involved in reviewing?

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

Become a Proposal Reviewer

We support patients, carers and members of the public to give feedback on health and social care research proposals. This means you will be commenting on research documents before the research study has taken place.

We invite reviews from members of the public, health care professionals, researchers, health economists and other professionals. This means that you can focus on giving us your opinion based on your own experience - you don’t need any expert knowledge!

You can sign up to review potential research through the online form below. Once you have registered as a public reviewer, you may be invited to review research proposals.

The review process: 

  1. The proposal - We receive a document proposing a research study.
  2. 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 issue being researched.
  3. The review - The patient, carer or member of the public reads and assesses the application’s strengths and weaknesses.
    • We will discuss the ideal timeline for you to complete the review.
    • You can view the documents at home and submit your comments online.
  4. The funding decision -  Public, professional and scientific reviewers’ comments are fed back  to researchers applying for funding and to the research advisory committee that makes funding decisions.

The type of documents you may be asked to review include research briefs and research funding applications.

What is a research brief?

A research brief is developed by the NIHR. It describes a potential area of research. A committee will then decide which research topics to prioritise. Research teams can then apply to do research in the advertised area.

What is a research funding application?

Research teams applying for NIHR funding complete a form describing what research they want to do and how they want to do it.

Both briefs and funding applications will include a summary of the research in “Plain English” to ensure that the research can be understood by a wider audience.

By sharing their views public reviewers can make a significant contribution to health and social care by helping to recommend or shape the research we fund and improving practice.

Click here to complete the online Proposal Reviewer form.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about becoming a Proposal Reviewer, please contact 

Become an Evidence Reviewer

NIHR Evidence publishes short, accessible summaries of NIHR-funded research. We ask for feedback on these summaries from health and care professionals, people with lived experience, carers and other members of the public.

We value our reviewers’ thoughts on how research impacts them, and they help us decide whether to develop a summary of a piece of research. This means you will be commenting on research documents after the research study has already taken place.

If you would like to share your views on research and help others understand its impact, become an Evidence Reviewer via the Reviewer page on the NIHR Evidence website.

The review process:

  1. The paper - We receive a paper about NIHR-funded research which we write a short, accessible summary about.
  2. The right match - The study topic is matched to a member of the public who has an interest in the topic area. We aim to only send papers on topics you are interested in.
  3. The review - The public member receives and reads the paper and short summary, and completes a few questions about these documents. We expect the task to take about 30 minutes in total.
    • We will discuss the ideal timeline for you to complete the review.
    • You can view the documents at home and submit your comments online.

Please note that you do not have to provide a review just because you’ve signed up. You can decline to review any paper and still remain on our database.

Click here to complete the online Evidence Reviewer form.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about becoming an Evidence Reviewer, please contact 

Guidance and support

We have developed an interactive training course for the public on reviewing funding documents. The training includes a module on things to consider when reviewing a research commissioning brief or funding application.

We also have NIHR colleagues who will be able to offer support to you once you have been allocated a document to review.

We have developed a Public Partnerships Induction, an online resource where you can find out more about the work NIHR does with members of the public. You are able to dip in and out of the content as you need or to refresh your knowledge. You will be required to create a free account to access this material.

Reward and recognition

NIHR rewards and recognises the contribution of public reviewers through payment and reimbursement of expenses. For more information please see NIHR’s Public Contributor payment policy.