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You do not need any experience to become a public contributor, but there are several guidance documents, resources and training opportunities that might help you in your role.

For those new to public involvement in research, there are several handbooks and guidance to help introduce you to health research and involvement. 


The below video includes members of the public sharing their experience of getting involved in research.



Understanding research 


Becoming a co-applicant

For some studies you might be asked to become a public co-applicant. A co-applicant is involved in the development of the grant application and has some responsibility for the management and/or delivery of the study. This role requires more commitment compared to most other involvement activities and often experienced public contributors are approached for this role. The below guidance may help you to find out more about, and navigate, the co-applicant role. 


Becoming a co-researcher


Virtual involvement 

The School has produced "how to use" guides for software which might be used to enable virtual involvement. The guides will explain, making use of screenshots, how to join in meetings and participate with their most common features.

version 30/06/2020version 30/06/2020Together with partner NIHR organisations, the SPCR has produced an information flyer on virtual involvement, focusing on video calling. The flyer gives you more information on software you might come across and tips and tricks derived from experienced public contributors and PPI coordinators. The flyer can be downloaded here.




There are no prerequisites to become a public contributor for primary care research beyond having an interest in primary care research.

Each of the School’s members has a local PPI lead who will be able to support you and make you aware of any local training opportunities. However, there are also several online training modules which can help you strengthen your skills and knowledge related to public involvement. 


Public involvement: 

Research methods and processes: 

Reviewing funding applications:

Other training and development opportunities: 

  • European Patient Ambassador Programme (EPAP) aimed to help strengthen the skills of members of the public to be patient/public representatives. It covers topics varying from involvement with research and development to working with the media and improving public awareness.

Primary Care is healthcare in the community - everything from GPs to Pharmacists, Optometrists to Dentists. At the School of Primary Care Research we aim to gather evidence to help decide what will make primary care better for everyone.

The School does this through funding high-quality research into what works, what does not, and what could work in the future. Since our goal is improving care for everyone, it is best that everyone is involved.


What is Public Involvement? When researchersask the public about what research should be done and how, rather than being participants.Who vcan get involved? Anyone! If you are a person living in the UK, you can get involved in healthcare research rather than being a participant.What do I have to do? There are loads of ways you can get involved. Tslking to a researher about your expericences of a condition. Reviewing information sheets. Input during event, training and workshops.What is primary care research? Primary care is healthcare in the community - everything from GPs to Pharmacists. Research can be about illnesses, clinical practice and treatments.What is in it for me? Make a difference. Understand research and see how projects develop. Develop skills and useful expericence, including talking at events and conferences.


How to get involved? 

There are no prerequisites to become a public contributor, though some studies might require their contributor to have lived experience of a certain condition.

If you are interested in becoming a public contributor for primary care research, you can get in touch with each of the SPCR members to find out more and express your interest in being involved.

You can also get in touch with the local PPI coordinator from one of our member universities.