National Institute of Health Research

Public and patient involvement

Group with hands in the middle

Why research needs you

Health and social care matters to each and every one of us. The NHS treats 1 million people every 36 hours in England. All of us want to be offered the best care when we, our family or our friends are ill. Delivering the best health care relies on having the best possible research evidence.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds research that produces evidence for professionals, policy makers and patients, so they can make informed decisions.

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

Not all of our research is about ‘high tech’ medicine or clinical interventions. Some projects look at the health of whole communities or at how health and social care services are best organised for people who may need them. We need the opinions and personal experience of members of the public, patients and carers to balance the advice we receive from clinicians, researchers and other professionals.

Who are we looking for?

We need people with everyday experience of health, education, social care or services delivered in your home or near where you live. We often look for people who have experience of specific health services as a patient or carer, and who have an interest in research. We welcome individuals and representatives of voluntary organisations and patient groups.

“You get to see things from so many different perspectives. When something you've supported gets approval for funding it's very rewarding.”

Paul Jarvis, Public contributor
Paul Jarvis

How you can get involved

You can get involved as a public contributor in a number of ways, but an ideal first step is to become a reviewer. Reviewers are asked to consider topics or research proposals submitted by academic researchers and advise our staff. This task is done at home and posted or emailed back to staff at our centre. Other ways to get involve include board and panel membership, and topic suggestion. Visit our PPI opportunities with the NETS programmes page for more details.

“The real value of the public and patient involvement view is that it helps us base discussions on the lives and experience of the patients.”

Professor Scott Weich, HTA Programme Panel Chair
Professor Scott Weich


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