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Get involved as a member of the public

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 HS&DR > Get Involved > Member of the public

Public involvement is central to the development of modern health care services. Research that reflects the needs and views of the public is more likely to produce results that can be used to improve practice in health and social care.

Sign up for our bi-monthly PPI bulletin with news, interviews and opportunities in HS&DR and the other NETS programmes and the wider world of PPI.

Reviewing for the NIHR HS&DR Programme

We recruit reviewers from a variety of fields, including patients and public contributors, clinical, methodological and NHS management professionals. To ensure the quality of our research, we rely upon patients and the public to review:

  • the research and commissioning briefs we produce
  • the research proposals we receive

As a public reviewer you will be invited to read and comment on research briefs and full research proposals, looking in particular at whether the research addresses issues of importance to patients and the public. For research proposals, public reviewers also examine whether patients and the public are appropriately involved in the research process.

Please contact Vicky Bowness if you would like further advice about this.

Membership of panels or commissioning board in the NIHR HS&DR Programme

Patient and public involvement helps to ensure that we assess funding applications according to patient need, offers a broader and more relevant perspective on research proposals and increases the range of knowledge and insight available to our panel and boards.

Vacancies arise from time to time for public members of our panel or boards. We recruit members through an open appointment process involving an application and interview. We advertise all such vacancies on our website, on a range of other relevant sites, and via our mailing list.

Suggest a research topic to the NIHR HS&DR Programme

Anyone can suggest a topic that would benefit from research, at any time. Please email us to make your suggestion.

Other opportunities to get involved in NIHR research:

There are plenty of other opportunities to get involved in NIHR research, please visit the NETSCC PPI pages for more information and links.

Frequently Asked Questions about NETS PPI

Who can get involved?

The HS&DR Programme uses the INVOLVE definition of the term ‘public’: Anyone who has experience of health services, as a patient or carer, and an interest in health research can get involved in the HS&DR Programme. This includes individuals with ideas and experience to contribute and also representatives of voluntary organisations and patient groups.

Patient and public involvement helps to ensure that we consider patient need when we prioritise research and assess applications for funding. It offers a broad and relevant perspective on research proposals as well as increasing the range of knowledge and insight into our commissioning panel and committees.

What skills do public contributors bring to the HS&DR Programme?

  • Creative thinking - tapping into your experience, visualising situations that are relevant to the topic and bringing fresh ideas
  • Asking questions important to patients and carers and users of the NHS
  • Identifying where patients and the public could be involved in a research study
  • Considering the needs and concerns of patients and carers, particularly commenting on access, information, equity, choice, dignity, safety and support
  • Seeking clear communication: commenting on technical language, presentation, abbreviations, readability and understanding
  • Encouraging and prioritising research through highlighting valuable aspects, making practical suggestions for new research topics and commenting on the overall value of the research

What are the benefits of being involved in the HS&DR Programme?

  • Have a say in research that might affect you, your family or your friends
  • Help prioritise research that is important to patients and the public
  • Learn more about research and the subject being researched
  • Meet new people and develop your skills
  • Have a chance to make a difference

What payments are made to public contributors?

The HS&DR Programme offers honorarium payments to public reviewers and public board and panel members to acknowledge the time and effort involved these roles. There may be limitations in what we can pay if you are in receipt of a full time public sector salary.

We do reimburse travel costs, and can reimburse subsistence, childcare and carer costs where incurred. Please contact Vicky Bowness if you would like further advice about this, at

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The NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is managed by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC). NETSCC is part of the University of Southampton funded by the NIHR, with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland and NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

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