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Dr Janet Diffin: Shared Commitment Second Anniversary Blog


Dr Janet Diffin, Senior Programme Manager within Health and Social Care Research & Development (HSC R&D) and current lead for Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) celebrates the second anniversary of the Shared Commitment to Public Involvement and shares the great work that has been happening in Northern Ireland since it was launched.

The Shared Commitment to Public Involvement is about helping to improve the quality of Public Involvement in health and social care research, and getting more people involved.

Health and Social Care Research & Development (HSC R&D) is celebrating the second anniversary of the launch of the Shared Commitment in health and social care research.

In Northern Ireland, we want excellence in health and social care that is based on excellence in research. Central to this excellence is the personal and public involvement – the patient and carer’s voice.

I’d like to see as many people as possible get involved in health and social care research! One way you can get involved is by taking part in our ‘Building Research Partnerships’ training, which has been delivered since 2012, jointly by HSC R&D and the NI Cancer Trials Network.  This is training for researchers, health and social care professionals, patients, carers and the general public.  So far nearly 450 people have benefitted from this training.

We want to strengthen relationships between researchers and the public to help build a mutual understanding and support researchers to develop and deliver quality research that is informed by the lived experience of patients and carers.

Following on from the first anniversary of the Shared Commitment last year, HSC R&D carried out an evaluation of their Funding Award Holders. Based on this feedback our Building Research Partnerships (BRP) training is now more accessible and available to anyone at any time. You can find more information about BRP training at: Building Research Partnerships - Engage (

In NI, HSC R&D continue to offer a PPI in Research Small Grant Scheme to support people working in HSC research to access resources to help them implement and develop PPI in their own projects or programmes, or to enable PPI representatives already involved in research to apply for courses or workshops, which may help to develop them in their role. Some examples where this funding has made a difference is the formation of a head and neck cancer sub-group and a Lewy Body Dementia Research Advisory Group.  This is a great scheme where up to £2.5k can be applied for and I encourage all applications. You can find more information on the research small grants scheme at:

HSC R&D Division remain committed to promoting the use of the UK Standards for Public Involvement in research through all funding scheme applications and reporting processes.

Finally, I wish to thank everyone involved in the many areas of research and wish a happy second anniversary to all those involved in the Shared Commitment. I particularly want to thank all our members of PIER (Public Involvement Enhancing Research) who continue to support HSC R&D in all our PPI activities and I look forward to continuing to work with partners and other organisations across the UK over the next year.


A picture from a Building Research Partnerships workshop held in Queen's University Belfast in April 2019