Involving patients and the public in your research

Involving and engaging patients and the public is at the heart of what we do at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London. We strongly encourage all researchers to involve patients in their work and can offer support and advice on how to do this successfully. 

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Professor James Larkin; Uncommon Cancers Theme Lead
Professor James Larkin, Uncommon Cancers research theme lead

Why involve patients and the public in your research?

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) expects investigators receiving support from Biomedical Research Centres to actively involve patients and the public in their research.

The active involvement of patients and the public in research can lead to more effective treatments that better meet the needs of users and the public, and increases the likelihood that results will be put into practice.

We encourage researchers to involve patients, carers and member of the public in all the research phases.

The research cycle: patients and the public should be involved in all stages

How can patients and the public help with your research?

Planning a research question - helping you to identify and prioritise the most relevant research questions for people living with the condition you are investigating.

Improving your grant application - the inclusion of the perspectives of patients and the public will strengthen your proposal to major funders, who often have lay representatives on their review panel.

Designing your protocol - patients and the public can help to answer important questions about how acceptable and feasible your research methods are, e.g. for patients recruited to clinical trials. 

Communicating your research - helping you to communicate your research in plain English in your grant application, patient information leaflets and dissemination materials.

Accessing patient communities - connecting you with different communities of patients, to participate in your research, or share research results. 

Improving recruitment in clinical trials and other research - research that has been co-designed with patients and the public ensures that you are using lay language and more presentable material which can help with recruiting participants for your research.

Undertaking your research - joining a steering committee to help with managing the study, advising on recruitment and retention, collecting data from patients and dissemination of findings.

Evidence of impact - research shows that involving patients and the public results in more relevant, higher quality research, that is more likely to receive funding

How can the BRC help me to involve patients and the public in my research?

We offer a variety of support to researchers at The Royal Marsden NHS Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, to involve patients, carers and the public in research. 

Training and Support

Throughout the year, we offer a variety of PPI/E training opportunities to professionals working at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.

Click the Training and support for PPIE link below to discover more.

Cancer Patients' Voice

Developed with patients representatives, our online platform Cancer Patients' Voice gives professionals the opportunity to consult, engage and involve patients and the public in their work. 

The platform includes various engagement tools including polls and surveys, idea boards and moderated online forums. It also provides extensive analytics for reporting on engagement and involvement activity.

Recently, the platform celebrated its first anniversary which has seen over 4,900 visits and more than 120 patients and the public registered.

If you are interested in using the platform, or would like to find out more, contact [email protected]

Other Support

We offer individual and team support for your specific projects or areas.

Every year, we provide grants for new activities and/or innovative patient and public involvement and engagement projects.

Get in touch to find out more - [email protected]

BRC Training Hub

Alongside PPI/E training, we also offer other training and career development opportunities for all staff involved in clinical research.