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An introduction to PPI
What do we mean by Patient and Public Involvement in Research?
Patient and Public Involvement (also known as user/lay involvement) in research is the active partnership between patients and/or public and researchers.  The involvement of patients and public in research can help:
  • prioritise the areas of research which are most relevant to patients and members of the public
  • improve the design and manage studies by taking into account the patient/public perspective
  • analyse and interpret data
  • disseminate the findings of research studies to the wider public
Thus PPI goes beyond simply having patients/members of the public as research subjects. By patients and the public we mean:
  • people who use, or have used, health or social care services
  • informal carers and families
  • members of the general public
  • organisations who represent users of NHS services and user groups

Why is patient and public involvement important?

The contributions of patients are considered valuable, providing alternative views from those of the research team or NHS staff. Patients are able to make judgements based on their understanding of their condition and may have different aspirations and thoughts about health outcomes that health care professionals and researchers may not have considered. Increasingly funders of research now require PPI as a condition of funding.

When should I involve patients and the public in the research development process?

As early as possible.  Many research funding streams now see the benefit of PPI and require it to be an active part of the design and conduct of the project.


RDS WM also recognises the fundamental importance of PPI in research and has a dedicated PPI team to directly support researchers, patients, or members of the public who wish to get involved in research. RDS WM can help with patient involvement; experienced advice on how to involve patients in the design and implementation of research programmes comes as part of our support package to researchers.

RDS WM has an Public Involvement Fund available to researchers applying for funding. The fund is intended to get patients and the public involved in research at an early stage where they can be influential and make a meaningful difference to the research design.