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Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in health and social care is research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public, rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

Excellent public involvement has been shown to improve the quality and impact of research.


What is PPI?

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) defines PPI as research done with or by patients/public, rather than about or for them. It ensures that health and medical research addresses things that are important to people, and that they get a say in the way that research is carried out.

The NIHR sees involvement as distinct from participation or public engagement. They also set out differences between involvement and qualitative research.

You will need to budget for PPI. The NIHR and MRC allow for you to allocate money to PPI to cover costs such as payment for time, venues, participant expenses, and even facilitation costs. They will also want to see that you have set aside time to build and establish relationships.


Why is PPI important?

There are lots of reasons why PPI is important and should be incorporated into research.

  1. Patients and the public are experts, with lived experience that can make research more relevant.
  2. Good quality PPI helps ensure research is ethical and better quality.
  3. Lots of health and social care research is funded by public money, so people have the right to a say in how it is spent.
  4. The agencies who fund medical research want to see high-quality, inclusive PPI plans in the applications for funding.

Guidance and support

PPI staff from across the Medical Sciences Division have put together detailed guidance for researchers. This includes a list of PPI leads who can support you.

NIHR has a PPI section as part of their advice on preparing a compelling case for funding, and has also produced a set of briefing notes for researchers new to PPI.

The Research Design Service can offer PPI advice through their request for support service.