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There are pockets of amazing creative and inclusive patient and public involvement, public engagement and community engagement projects happening across the SPCR membership.

Skills and expertise to initiate, develop and facilitate involvement and engagement activities are often learned on the job. However, it's difficult to be aware of the best practices happening across the SPCR and know who might be able to support an early career researcher in developing these skills further.

The SPCR is launching a pilot scheme for a Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) placement opportunity. The scheme will allow SPCR Trainees (School funded PhD students and early career researchers) to take on a placement at another member to learn from their involvement and engagement work. The scheme will aim to:

  • Identify best practices of PPIE across the SPCR and raise their awareness and profile within the School
  • Supporting best practices of PPIE by enabling additional support and capacity to develop and deliver their activities
  • Improve PPIE skills amongst SPCR Trainees by learning from researchers and PPIE professionals from outside their organisation
  • Create new relationships within the School amongst those leading in inclusive and creative PPIE

A placement project can be a new project that is about to start or something ongoing where the trainee will (temporarily) join the team developing and delivering the relevant involvement or engagement work. The placement at a project lasts between 4 - 12 months.

The trainees participating in the scheme will receive a bursary of £650 to cover any travel and subsistence costs to attend relevant meetings and events during the placement. The trainee would remain employed by their host university and the bursary should cover expenses made to attend meetings and events which aren't conducted virtually. Trainees would be expected to commit up to 2 hours per week on supporting the placement project, though this could increase in the run-up to an event. 

How to host a placement

Researchers at SPCR member institutions are currently invited to submit a project to host a placement

The original project can be funded by any funder and will need to be linked to primary care research. It could be any type of patient and public involvement, public engagement or community engagement work that trials novel methods, working with often excluded communities or using creative tools. Examples of potential projects could be involvement activities working with often excluded communities who have been marginalised, a public engagement activity at a science festival, a science-art project, co-production work on developing resources or community engagement work to establish relationships with underserved groups.

A project requires a named supervisor for the trainee as main point of contact and support throughout the placement. This should be the person leading on the involvement/ engagement element of the research and can be either a researcher or PPIE professional. The supervisor needs to be employed by an SPCR member institution.

The placement is meant to be an opportunity for trainees to learn "on the job". As such there is the expectation that a placement trainee will be an active part of developing, organising, delivering and evaluating the involvement/ engagement activities. They shouldn't be doing part of the research that the activity relates to. Their role would be to support the supervisor and wider team in their tasks, work with them and where feasible take responsibility for actions.

Placements can start between September and December 2022. There should be an output that the trainee would work towards during the placement, i.e. an engagement event, a co-produced piece of work or a workshop.

If you are interested in hosting a placement but are unsure if your project would be feasible or you would like to discuss this scheme further, please contact the SPCR Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Manager, Esther van Vliet ( 

How to propose a project

Four projects will be able to participate in this pilot scheme. All submissions will be discussed by PPIE professionals and researchers based within the SPCR in order to select the projects that will provide a diverse range of opportunities for trainees to choose from.

The pilot will be evaluated and if successful repeated in future years. 

Deadline for proposals for placement projects is Monday 13th June (midnight). To apply, an application form needs to be emailed to the SPCR PPIE Manager, Esther van Vliet ( 

Download the application form to propose a project. 

The application form of successful submissions will be used as project summaries to promote the opportunity amongst the SPCR trainees. 

How to apply for a placement

The opportunity for SPCR Trainees to apply for the scheme will open late June, when the 4 selected placement projects will be announced. You will be required to complete a brief application form to express your interest in doing a PPI placement. The supervisors of the selected pilot projects will be involved in the selection of the trainees for their placement.