Costing and funding patient and public involvement
Effective PPI takes resources – both staff time and money – and it is essential to have an adequate budget for both. Funders such as the NIHR expect PPI to be adequately costed in research proposals. It is extremely difficult to obtain funding for PPI work after a research grant application has been funded.
Key costs will include:
- Care costs
- Travel expenses
- Payment for time
- Translation or interpreting
- Venue hire
Current PPI contribution payment policies are in Section 4: PPI in practice
Large-scale long-term projects such as clinical trials are likely to have a project manager to support this work and a PPI lead. Smaller scale projects will not have this support; the PPI work is the role of a small research team or of an individual researcher. Within departments there will be experienced project managers and PPI staff who can offer advice and support with costing this work, Section 5: PPI Resources for Researchers has some contact details.
Funding opportunities for PPI outside of a main grant application are limited, details are in Section 5: PPI Resources for Researchers.
Reimbursing PPI contributors for their time on a grant application at the development stage of research can be difficult. There is a small fund in the NIHR Research Design Service to support this but if the grant development is being supported in part by one of the big research programmes e.g. the BRC or the ARC there might be a small amount of core funding to support this. It is always worth asking the PPI manager associated with the funding programme. It may be appropriate to factor in the cost of the pre-application PPI into the PPI budget for the research project itself so that contributors can be reimbursed if the project is funded. Whether this is appropriate will be very dependent on your PPI contributor themselves.
NIHR – Research Design Service South Central
Researchers applying to the NIHR grant programmes or themed calls can access the support of their regional Research Design Service (RDS) – for Oxford this is RDS South Central. The RDS helps in identifying suitable PPI contributors, facilitating initial meetings, advice on long term PPI strategy and supporting the PPI contributor costs throughout the application process via a small grant scheme. This funding covers only the application process and not the full costs of PPI throughout a research project.
See the RDS website and choose the ‘Request support’ option to get in touch with an advisor.