Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

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10 ways to illustrate how you used public involvment in your funding aplication

  Created on Tuesday, 12 Jun 2018. Posted in Public Involvement | Design Tips

This is a great article from Health Research Authority on ways to use public involvement to inform your ethical review. You can use the same principles within your funding bid to show what effects the public have had on shaping your application. Public involvement needs to be woven through applications and it is imperative that you show the changes you've made due to the involvement - it's no longer acceptable just to state that you've consulted the public during the design process, details are what will make your application stand out!

  1. How patients shaped the research question or why patients thought the research important (not merely stating that patients thought it important).
  2. How patients shaped the intervention and decided which outcome measures to use in clinical trials.
  3. How patients’ input was used to minimise the burden on participants.
  4. How patients influenced the ethical design of a trial -  e.g. whether use of placebo would be acceptable.
  5. Where patients identified that participants might potentially experience distress and what appropriate changes had been made in response.
  6. How practical arrangements were changed to better meet the needs of participants e.g. follow-up clinics at more appropriate times.
  7. How recruitment processes were changed to be sensitive to the emotional and practical needs of potential participants.
  8. How patients were involved in deciding what questions to ask in interviews/ focus groups, rather than only being asked comment on the wording of questions written by researchers.
  9. How patients were involved in designing the protocol and patient facing information from the start, the responses they gave and the changes made as a result.
  10. How patients would continue to be involved in the project at different stages, with a clear explanation of what input was expected and how it might shape future decisions.

phinder - connecting public health practice and research

  Created on Monday, 11 Jun 2018. Posted in Toolkit/Database

Are you a researcher interested in what interventions are out there that need evaluating?  Got an idea for public health research but are unsure how to progress your idea with a public health professional?

Phinder connects researchers with relevant public health professionals with a view to discussing research possibilities, and encourages submissions for funding applications to the PHR Programme through the researcher-led application route. Access the Phinder portal to find out more.

PPI in a digital age

  Created on Tuesday, 22 May 2018.

Guidance on co-producing a research project - Design Tips

  Created on Tuesday, 08 May 2018. Posted in Co-production | Design Tips

Going the Extra Mile [NIHR 2015] envisaged a population actively involved in research to improve health and wellbeing, stating that the “most successful collaborations will be those where knowledge is shared in a mutual partnership between researchers, the public and health professionals.”

The application of co-production within applied health research varies, some argue that co-production in research is just ‘really good PPI’.  The recent publication Guidance on co-producing a research project [INVOLVE, NIHR 2018] aims to provide clarity through 5 key principles and features of co-production.

Key Principles

  • Sharing of Power
    Co-production requires the research to be jointly owned with people actively working together to achieve a joint understanding. Sharing of power does not mean that everybody is involved in every decision and every part of the project, people working on a project will still have different roles. With shared power and ownership of key decisions comes responsibility. There needs to be defined roles for everyone with each team member holding real responsibility.
  • Including all perspectives and skills
    Make sure the research team includes all those who can make a contribution, this will ensure all necessary views, experiences, skills and knowledge are included. Co-production involves embracing diversity and enabling involvement of all those people required for a particular project, including underrepresented groups. Inclusivity requires the research to be accessible. This includes ensuring physical access to meetings and accessible information; documents, for example, are in an appropriate format and language.
  • Respecting and valuing the knowledge of all those working together on the research
    Everyone working together on a research project is of equal importance. Everybody on the team is recognised as an asset. Co-production acknowledges the different knowledge bases, experiences and perspectives of all involved and each member of the research team is afforded equal respect and value.
  • Reciprocity
    All contributions to the research should be recognised. Everybody working together on a research project should get something back from contributing to that project. This could take many forms, not just financial rewards. For example, the development of social networks, increased confidence, new knowledge and skills and access to courses and training.
  • Building and maintaining relationships
    The evolving relationships between the various people working together in research are key to co-producing research. In order for trust to develop, individuals need to reflect on the knowledge, assumptions, preconceptions and biases that they bring to a research project. There needs to be acknowledgement and understanding of the complexity involved in ‘power differentials’.

Key Features

  • Establish Ground Rules
    Set out expectations, in terms of the roles, responsibilities and behaviours of all at the start of the project. This will create an environment of respect.
  • Joint Ownership of Key Decisions
    Joint ownership of key decisions differentiates co-producing from collaborating. Not everyone needs to be involved in every decision or every aspect of a piece of research. The group should decide and agree who should be involved and when, in terms of the management, governance and undertaking of the research.
  • A commitment to relationship building
    Addressing power differences and developing relationships requires the development of open, honest, trusting and reciprocal relationships. Organisations and researchers need to be proactive in encouraging and facilitating public involvement and developing relationships beyond the research community.
  • Opportunities for personal growth and development
    Project leads need to facilitate the involvement of the public effectively and manage the flexibility and uncertainty that are often involved in co-produced research projects. Members of the research team need to be willing to relinquish power and accept reciprocity of experience and expertise. This may require a cultural change in the research team and/or the organisation hosting the team.
  • Flexibility
    A co-produced research project should provide opportunities for an iterative, fluid, open ended, experimental and interactive process; there should be opportunity for solutions and innovations to emerge from the relationships developed.
  • Valuing and evaluating the impact of co-producing research
    Research findings or outputs, from working co-productively, will produce knowledge and end results which may be different from those produced by a conventional academic process. These include new relationships, expanded social networks and increased confidence of members of the public.
  • Continuous reflection
    The process of continuous reflection gives the research team opportunities to look at how they are working together, how they might be using their particular expertise and perspective in the project and how this might impact on the research process and findings/outcomes. Creating safe and supportive spaces which enable team members to openly and honestly reflect on challenging issues such as power dynamics and inequalities is an integral part of co-producing research.

The Researcher - Spring 2018 edition all about building research communities

  Created on Thursday, 03 May 2018. Posted in News Items

NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre signs collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca

  Created on Thursday, 03 May 2018.

The NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre has become the first in the UK to sign an agreement that could lead to the faster development of new treatments for some of the most common diseases, including arthritis and asthma.

Through the agreement, the BRC will have access to AstraZeneca's Open Innovation platform - an extensive range of AstraZeneca’s chemical compounds - as part of its work on the development of new therapies and treatments.

Read more about this story on the University of Nottingham website.

RDS Newsletter - Spring 2018

  Created on Monday, 30 Apr 2018. Posted in RDS EM Newsletter

RDS EM newsletter with an editorial on the priority setting initiative for adult cardiac surgery. The issue also features guidance on co-producing a research project and an introduction to 'Sharebank' - a collaboration between East Midlands organisations to deliver training opportunities for public involvment work.

6 tips on Co-design

  Created on Monday, 23 Apr 2018. Posted in Public Involvement

Co-design is part of a process that enables those who deliver services and those who receive services to create improvements together. Each person or group is considered to have equally important views. This article shares six tips for healthcare teams to maximise the benefits of co-design and ensure it runs smoothly.

BestEvidence - new free web-based mobile app

  Created on Monday, 16 Apr 2018. Posted in News Items

BestEvidence is free web-based mobile app that facilitates real-time searching (at the point of patient care) for the best available research evidence to inform health care decisions. 

BestEvidence can be accessed via the browser on you smartphone or tablet at  (To add the BestEvidence icon to your phone just select “Add to home screen” from the browser menu.)  

New NIHR Fellowships

  Created on Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018. Posted in Funding Tips

The provision of the NIHR Fellowship Programme has changed. Here are the new four levels of fellowship available and a diagram mapping how the old schemes fit with the new programme.

Aim: To support individuals with the potential and on a trajectory to become future leaders in NIHR research.

Funding: Four levels of NIHR Fellowship award are available:

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE)
    • aimed at getting necessary skills and experience required to undertake a PhD
    • will only fund applications which address one of the named strategic themes in the call
    • applicants need to demonstrate commitment and potential to develop as a future leader in research relevant to NIHR
    • covers individual's salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000
  • Doctoral Research Fellowship
    • 3 years (between 50 and 100 WTE) clinical applicants can include up to 20% clinical time as part of the fellowship
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, sound training and development programme along with commitment and support arrangements from supervisory team
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Advanced Fellowship
    • 2-5 years (between 50 and 100 WTE), clinical applicants can request 20-40% time dedicated to clinical service/development (cost will be covered by the fellowship)
    • assessment looks for high quality research proposal, strong and appropriate training and development plan, high level of support from host organisation and mentoring team.
    • individuals are eligible to be awarded up to 2 Advanced Fellowships sequentially
    • covers full salary, full research, training and development costs
  • Development and Skills Enhancement Award
    • 1 year (between 50 and 100 WTE but max duration is 1 year regardless of WTE)
    • assessment looks for clear articulated plan for how the award will support an application for future funding, list of skills and experience that will be gained with the award
    • researchers can receive several awards over the lifetime of career, but must be a member of the NIHR Academy to apply
    • host organisations will be expected to match the level of funding, award will cover the salary, training and development costs up to £5,000 and mentorship costs up to £1,000

At each level of fellowship there will be opportunities to apply for jointly funded fellowships with either a charity or industrial partner. Additional specific eligibility criteria will be available for co-funded fellowships.

Process: The majority of fellowships will be awarded in response mode but a strategic component will also be introduced. Strategic themes will form the areas that will be prioritised for any given round of funding (areas of high importance, specific research skills or methodologies, or professional groups).

Key tips:

  • Application forms will use the current NIHR Standard Application Form
  • 2 rounds per year for Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships, reapplication only after 12 months
  • Candidates can apply a maximum of two times for the same fellowship (applications deemed fundable but below the funding cut off will not count towards the maximum of 2 application attempts)
  • Applicants can select any percentage option between 50 and 100% WTE
  • Post doctoral fellowships will be assessed depending on where you are in your career (different panels depending on stage of post-doctoral career)
  • There is funding for a support post available as part of the Advanced Fellowship but the justification for the support will be assessed as part of the review process

Website: NIHR Fellowships