March 2016

Examples of work to support public involvement in research at a local and regional level are increasing. In many areas, research forums or networks have been established which span different parts of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and include partner organisations. The approaches and models adopted vary, as does the management of information and resources. Aims may include coordinated strategic planning, pooling of resources and expertise, shared learning, and support between those who carry out patient and public involvement roles.

The Research Design Services (RDS) are currently mapping their links with local and regional networks. To complement this work, INVOLVE commissioned the development of examples of existing regional networks that are supporting public involvement in research, to explore the characteristics of successful collaborations and to highlight some of the lessons learnt in developing and maintaining these initiatives.
The aim was to inform discussions on how INVOLVE and the NIHR can best support and develop regional partnerships and their strategic coordination. It is hoped that this will support locally inspired collaborations, in line with the Going the Extra Mile1 report recommendations from the Breaking Boundaries strategic review of public involvement in the NIHR. The report emphasises the importance of locally driven work that is strategically consistent with the NIHR’s overall goals, specifically recommending the development of regional public involvement partnerships within and beyond the NIHR’s boundaries.

This report has been written by Katherine Cowan, an independent consultant commissioned by the INVOLVE Coordinating Centre, drawing on information provided by members of the three networks included as examples.
This report is not intended to provide a critical review of existing regional networks, but to explore the characteristics of a limited number of established collaborations, in full knowledge that other models exist and flourish.

No. of Pages:25