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By Stuart Eglin, Chair of INVOLVE 2012 Conference Planning Group

On behalf of the INVOLVE 2012 Conference Planning Group I am delighted to welcome you to the conference edition of our newsletter. We are all looking forward to an inspiring couple of days in Nottingham.

We hope that this conference ‘Putting people first in research’ will provide a unique forum for people with a common interest in public involvement in health and social care research.

This time we received an unprecedented number of applications to present a huge range of  talks, workshops, speed sessions and audio-visual presentations. In addition, we were overwhelmed by the incredibly high quality of the posters that were submitted this year and have tried to made sure that the programme has opportunities on both days for people to view and discuss the posters with the presenters.

In this newsletter we have four inspiring articles from projects that will be presenting at the conference. I chose these projects to illustrate the breadth and diversity of the work we are going to hear from  and which I have no doubt will lead to many thought-provoking debates and discussions throughout the two days.

I am also pleased that the conference will highlight some of the work that INVOLVE has been doing, for example: 

  • We will be running a ‘next steps’ session on day 2 to draw on views and experiences of the best ways we and others across the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) can work together to support and sustain learning and development approaches for public involvement in research.
  • In 2006 INVOLVE launched a network, invoNET www.invo.org.uk/invonet/, for people interested in developing an evidence base for public involvement in research. On day 2  an invoNET-sponsored workshop will debate questions such as: what do we mean by the ‘evidence base’, who are we trying to influence and what could and should the evidence be used for?
  • In 2011 three research projects on public involvement in research were funded under a joint NIHR-funded call between INVOLVE and the Health Services and Delivery Research Programme www.netscc.ac.uk/hsdr/hsrinvolveprojects.html. I am confident that over the two days these and other projects, will help build our knowledge and understanding of how different approaches and contexts to public involvement influence research and research findings.

If this is the first time that you have attended an INVOLVE conference look out for the conference guide  with tips and information on what to expect, which we hope will help you get the most out of the event. We welcome feedback so please do let us know what you find interesting and other issues or information you would like included in future conferences.

And finally, you can keep up with the latest conference news and views by following us on twitter  (#INVOLVE2012), by reading our INVOLVE conference blog, or after the conference by viewing the presentations, film clips and photographs on our website.

I look forward to meeting you at the conference.