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Database to promote Public Involvement in COVID-19 research

The Health Research Authority (HRA) would like to invite you to register your public involvement group on the UK COVID-19 Public Involvement in Research database
What is the database for?

1.    To link up researchers who want to involve patients and the public in COVID-19 studies with existing public involvement groups across the UK

2.    To support effective communication between organisations that manage public involvement in research

Why are we setting up the database?

In late March the Health Research Authority became aware of concerns that COVID-19 research was taking place without adequate public involvement. We analysed the first 40 applications received through our COVID-19 fast-track study review service; only 20% of applicants said they had or intended to involve the public in their study. This compares to 78% in a similar period last year.

We led a workshop with public involvement practitioners and patients on 27 April to test the appetite for an HRA-led initiative to address this problem. There was significant support (workshop summary attached). Later that week we published an HRA statement of intent and a guest blog from Bec Hanley and Maryrose Tarpey, who have been working with us to map out existing public involvement networks across the UK, which we’re calling the UK COVID-19 Public Involvement in Research Network.


How to add your group to the database

The database is hosted in the National Public Engagement Practitioners’ Network workspace on the FutureNHS Collaboration Platform.  See attached guide for adding your information to the database; you will receive a separate email from FutureNHS with the link that lets you join the workspace.


How will the database be used?

The UK COVID-19 Public Involvement in Research database has been established by the HRA in collaboration with its partners. It is a resource available to anyone supporting public involvement in health and social care research in the UK.

Soon COVID-19 researchers who do not already have connections with public involvement groups will be able to request support via the HRA website. We will help researchers to decide what involvement is right for their study and then use the database to match them with people who can help, using the contact details for group coordinators provided. All communications with patients and the public will be managed by the group coordinators with whom they are familiar.

If you have any questions or suggestions either about the network or the HRA’s COVID-19 public involvement matching service, please contact the HRA at