People and Research - South West Research

UWE are leading a regional initiative to support researchers to involve the public in health and social care research, and to support the public to become involved. People and Research South West is a collaboration between the University of the West of England, NHS organisations, and the University of Bristol, which aims to encourage active partnerships between the public and researchers.

The emphasis is not on recruiting service users to act as subjects for studies but on encouraging meaningful involvement, where members of the public play a key role in informing and carrying out research. The People and Research South West consortium will help members of the public to participate in research through:

  • Regular networking events where members of the public and researchers can share their experiences of good practice in involvement and help each other overcome any barriers for involvement.
  • Training events for members of the public on skills and knowledge to help them be able to contribute effectively to research, and for researchers on how best to involve the public in meaningful ways.
  • A database of local examples of good practice so people can learn from each other what has worked practically.
  • Help with finding and sharing examples of policies and procedures, so that researchers don’t have to reinvent the wheel, for example, policies on confidentiality, induction or payment of members of the public.
  • Signposting for researchers on how to make contact with relevant community and service user groups, and for members of the public on how to find out what research is going on in their areas of interest.

Catrin Richards from the Centre for Clinical and Health Services Research who is leading the initiative at UWE says that: “It’s not just about members of the public acting as research subjects. We want to foster partnerships where service users and the public can use their knowledge to help shape research studies; after all, often it is the public who have valuable first-hand experience of using health and social care services. We want to help researchers across the South West to work with the public and use their experiences to get the most out of their research. There are a variety of ways that people can be involved, for example, helping researchers to ask the right questions, helping to design the studies or contributing to carrying out the research.”

For more information about People and Research South West contact Catrin Richards

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