Several funding bodies, as well as research ethics committees ask grant applicants about their plans for public involvement with an expectation that if they are not involving members of the public in the research then they need to have thought through why they have made this decision and explain the reasons.
For example, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has developed a standard application form to be used by all their research programmes, including individual training awards. One of the sections on the form asks applicants to describe how they have involved the public in the design and planning of their study as well as their plans for further involvement throughout the research and if they have not involved the public, to explain why. Applicants are also asked to provide details of the budget they have allocated for public involvement in their research. Responses to these questions will be considered by the reviewers, research panels and boards (which increasingly include members of the public) and will influence funding decisions.
The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) will ask about the plans for public involvement in your research if you apply for ethical approval, and it will be part of their assessment process. NRES expects the involvement of the public in research, as it can help ensure that research planned is ethical, relevant and acceptable from a public perspective.
INVOLVE, working with members of the Public Involvement Collaboration Group (PICG), has produced a tips sheet: recruiting members of the public to get involved in research funding and commissioning processes. These tips consolidate knowledge and lessons learned by members of the PICG. They are largely based on the development of recruitment processes within the NIHR research programmes and not intended to provide a comprehensive guide to recruitment.
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