Public Involvement

CLAHRC North Thames Questions for the panel

What is Public Involvement?

Public Involvement (PI) (sometimes referred to as Patient and Public Involvement or PPI) in research is defined as research carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

It is an active partnership between researchers and members of the public.

It should not be confused with:

  • Public Engagement which refers to information and knowledge about research being provided and disseminated via media reports, science festivals or discussions;


  • Public Participation whereby patients and members of the public take part in clinical trials, or qualitative research e.g. by completing questionnaires or as members of focus groups.

Why is PI in health and social care research important?

PI brings together the expertise of the health and social care professionals and the personal knowledge and experience of the public.  Bringing together these differing perspectives ensures that research projects:

  • address questions of relevance to the health and social care professionals and the public;
  • ensures that the design of the research project takes the sensitivities of the proposed research participants into account;
  • provides information which is communicated in a clear and accessible format.

How can PI be included in research?

There are several stages to a research project. The diagram below illustrates how PI can be included in each stage of the research cycle.

How can the RDS NENC help?

As part of a package of support, the RDS NENC is able to advise researchers on how to plan for, and include PI throughout the life of their research project.  Researchers wishing to know more should visit our Public Involvement Advice for Researchers page.

In addition, the RDS NENC runs a PI Consumer Panel.  Researchers, who are clients of the RDS NENC, are able to discuss their research projects with the panel.  For details of the RDS NENC PI Consumer Panel visit our Public Involvement Consumer Panel page.

Members of the public interested in joining the PI Consumer Panel should visit our Public Involvement Consumer Panel page.

Our Public Involvement Strategy

Our aim for public involvement is to promote and encourage public involvement in the research that we support.  Our belief is that by including a diverse group of people with personal experiences and an interest in health and social care research, it will strengthen the quality of the research, as well as make it more relevant.

 RDS NENC Objectives

  1. Support the development of high quality research proposals by providing high quality evidence based public involvement support to all RDS clients.
  2. To promote the use of national standards for public involvement to improve quality
  3. To provide regional leadership to address local and national priorities for public involvement in research.
  4. Develop and maintain the skills and knowledge in public involvement of all RDS advisors.
  5. To increase the diversity of the communities we involve in RDS PPI activities.
  6. Supporting the development of user led research.

You can view our full strategy here.  The National PPI Strategy is available here.