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NIHR looks to break new ground in public involvement in research


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) announces a strategic review of public involvement in health, social care and public health research entitled: 'Breaking Boundaries: thinking differently about public involvement in research.'

Over the next six months, the 'Breaking Boundaries' review will 'examine future options for building an active collaboration with the public and making best use of their skills, knowledge and experience in the work of the NIHR.'  It is expected to define a vision and set clear goals for the next ten years.

Patients and the public, researchers and clinicians, the NIHR and other research organisations, are being asked to contribute their views with a particular focus on the innovations and new approaches that will help the NIHR break new ground plus the barriers and challenges to be overcome in this important area.

Since 2006, patients, carers and members of the public have contributed to the work of the NIHR by helping it to decide what research to fund and how it should do this.  They review and shape research projects and proposals and actively collaborate with researchers, clinicians and other health professionals to deliver and disseminate research results.   Their knowledge and insight play a vital role in helping the UK to recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers to clinical studies every year.  A summary of this work can be found in NIHR's annual report for 2012/13: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/26f799ac#/26f799ac/1

The 'Breaking Boundaries' strategic review is being steered by a panel of service users, researchers, clinicians and staff from across the NIHR and the wider research community,  chaired by Simon Denegri, Chair of INVOLVE and National Director for Public Involvement and Participation in Research. It will last approximately six months and make its report and recommendations prior to the INVOLVE conference in Birmingham 26/7 November 2014.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at the Department of Health, said: ''This is going to be an incredibly important piece of work.  NIHR has a great track record of involving the patients, carers and the public in our research.  In fact, this partnership has been critical to our success as a research funder.  But we want to build on this success and get closer to our goal of public involvement in research being the rule and not the exception.'

Today Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research, said: 'This is an ambitious exercise.  It's also a timely one.  It is an opportunity to take a step back, think differently about what we are doing and set some clear goals for the future.  I'm really looking forward to hearing about the new ways in which we should be doing things to build an active collaboration between patients, researchers and clinicians so that this becomes the norm.'