Top NIHR researchers speak out about importance of public involvement in research

This has got a bit lost in the hurly burly of the last few days.  It is important that it does not remain so.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigators – of which there are around 200 I believe – are the very best of the very best researchers across the organisation.  NIHR is about to start its 8th competition to appoint new ones.

Senior Investigators are important leaders in their own field of science.  But they are also regarded as leaders in policy and practice across NIHR including public involvement.  They therefore play an important role in setting the tone, style and pace for those around them, particularly tomorrow’s Senior Investigators who are just starting out on their careers.

To coincide with the impending selection process – when applicants will be asked to demonstrate their public involvement credentials to a panel which includes patients and members of the public – INVOLVE has produced this excellent booklet: Senior Investigators: Leaders in Patient and Public Involvement in Research in which five of their number talk about the importance of public involvement and the difference it has made to their work. The five are:

Dr John Bradley, Director, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre

Professor David Gunnell, Professor of Epidemiology, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol

Professor Elaine Hay, Director, Institute of Primary Care and Health Sciences Centre, Keele University

Professor Hywel Williams, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology and Director, Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham

Professor Sue Ziebland, Director, Health Experiences Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services University of Oxford

In her foreword, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health says:

“In the past I have called on our NIHR Senior Investigators to help lead the way in embedding patient and public involvement into the culture and ethos of health and care research…….By their leadership, they are enabling the creation of the best possible environment for patient and public involvement in research to flourish. They are using their influence and conviction to place the interests of patients and the public at the heart of all our activity – from individual NIHR funded research projects, training programmes within the Faculty to arrangements within commissioning and infrastructure provision.”


“There is much to learn from the experience and excellent practice of these inspirational individuals. They so clearly show what a massive difference patient and public involvement makes and why it remains fundamental to our success.”


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