A new report, published jointly by Macmillan and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has demonstrated that the free Building Research Partnerships course to support public involvement in research has made a measurable impact on practice.
What did people say about it?
77% of participants said they felt the course had helped improve the way the public are involved in research in their area.
The report was unanimous in recognising the value of mixing members of the public with professionals, and also people with experience or knowledge of different conditions. Participants cited the experience of gaining different perspectives from the mixed company as being valuable. One researcher said they valued:
"Gaining an understanding of what patients think they bring to the process and meeting such experienced lay members."
Similarly, a person who identified themselves as a carer said they found:
"Allowing health care professionals to interact and engage with each other very informative."
What has been learned from this work?
Finally, the report calls on the Third Sector - including leading charities, voluntary, not for profit and non-governmental organisations - to work together more effectively and openly with Governments, industry and academic institutions to pool limited resources and create a more lasting impact.