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Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) in Research


What does PPI mean for Research?

Organisations have a statutory duty to involve service users, carers and the public in the commissioning, planning and delivery of all Health and Social Care (HSC). This process is known as Personal and Public Involvement (PPI).  It means including individuals in decisions about their specific care or treatment and consulting members of the public and the wider community on the design, delivery and location of services. DHSSPSNI PPI Guidance

In Research, this means involving people in all aspects of the research process as partners rather than as research subjects. This link explains it in more detail: PPI in Research

HSC R&D supports and encourages Health and Social Care Research in a variety of ways including providing funding for:

  • Building Research Infrastructure
  • Research Training for Health and Social Care Researchers
  • Supporting Research Studies
  • Support of Clinical Trials through Clinical Research Networks

There are opportunities for the public to get involved with us by taking part in research groups, committees and panels to help researchers to:

  • Ask the right questions
  • Encourage people to take part in research studies or clinical trials
  • Make sure their research findings are heard
  • Improve care in the future

HSC R&D Division wishes to ensure that PPI is integrated into the research process at all points in the research cycle so that researchers prioritise topics that are important to service users and carers and formulate questions, processes and outcomes that are meaningful to people rather than researcher led.


Why not take a look at our Strategy for Personal and Public Involvement in HSC research and find out about ways in which you could become involved in the work of HSC R&D Division.

If you would like to be get involved see here> Get involved in PPI in Research or contact Gail Johnston or Tel. 9536 3490 for more information.



How to get involved in PPI in Research


  • Are you interested in research?
  • Do you have good communication skills?
  • Have you experience of working in groups or committees?
  • Do you have time to participate in meetings or review research documents?
  • Would you like to develop new skills and knowledge?

Before you answer the questions above why not find out how medical treatments are discovered, tested and evaluated to improve healthcare for all >> take an online course on "Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research" (University of Leeds and NIHR) 

HSC R&D Division has a group of trained PPI representatives who support it in its activities. The name of this Group is PIER (NI). PIER stands for Public Involvement Enhancing Research.

If you would like to be involved in PPI or just find out more about it please complete the Expression of Interest Form and send it to Gail Johnston or Tel. 9536 3490 for more information.

HSC R&D Division also provides training, information and advice to Researchers wanting to learn about PPI


The following booklets (published by the INVOLVE Support Unit) provide more information for service users, carers or members of the public who would like to be involved in research,



INVOLVE is an organisation funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to support public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. 

The INVOLVE website has some useful information and resources for the public interested in research and researchers interested in involving the public in thier research.

This includes a 2-minute animation based on the true story of a young man, Tom, who was diagnosed with an illness and through this became involved in research. Click to go to the INVOLVE website and hear Tom's story


Evaluating the role of PPI in Research


Involving you, improving Care

The Public Health Agency and Patient Client Council commissioned a collaboration, including Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, to undertake research into PPI. 

The research led by Dr Joe Duffy, Lecturer in Social Work, Queen's University of Belfast, is now completed. Click here to access the published findings from this study. 


Meaningful Involvement of Users, Carers, and Communities in the development and delivery of Palliative Care

Voices4Care is an initiative involving people receiving palliative care (service users), carers and the wider community in the work of All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC). Through the Voices4Care group, AIIHPC is committed to having the views of patients and their families at the heart of what it does.

Patients, their families, carers and others bring unique and fresh insights about care which are invaluable for those providing or making decisions about palliative care. The perspectives of Voices4Care members’ informs and influences AIIHPC’s work.

The attached report provides an evaluation of the initiative recently completed by Ulster University.


Exploring barriers to public engagement by UK researchers: research results

A national survey* in 2015 into the factors that affect public engagement by researchers across the UK shows there has been a positive shift in researchers’ understanding and attitudes to public engagement over the past ten years.

This shift represents an important milestone on a longer journey of culture change for the research and higher education sectors, which remains a ‘work in progress’.

The survey finds that researchers are now considerably more personally motivated in this area, yet challenges remain. The findings also suggest that more needs to be done to support, reward and recognise researchers to embed public engagement as an integral part of a research career.

Key findings of the research are available in an infographic or download a copy of the main report.

* The top 15 funders of publicly funded research in the UK are working in a consortium to review the current state of the public engagement with research landscape within higher education, research institute or clinical settings across the UK. The consortium commissioned TNS-BMRB, an independent social research organisation, to undertake the survey research in 2015. Please see the Wellcome Trust website for more information on this research.