Public and Patient Involvement in Research

Funded by the Health Research Board, the PPI Ignite Programme aims to bring about a culture change in how healthcare research is conducted across the University. 

The PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme office:

  • Supports health and social care researchers to involve members of the public in meaningful ways across the full research cycle
  • Connects the public and patient and community organisations to researchers who are seeking PPI partners
  • Delivers PPI training and education to researchers and to the public
  • Runs PPI clinics that provide advice on how to get started with PPI
  • Connects researchers to other researchers with relevant PPI experience
  • Helps researchers to evaluate the impact of their PPI activities

The PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme is led by Prof Sean Dinneen. View a short video about PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway  here.

You can read the NUI Galway PPI Strategy.

EMPOWER workshops - a PPI education day for the public

On Saturday 6 October, NUI Galway hosted an information and education day, for the public, with a series of free workshops introducing PPI and developing skills useful to enable the public to partner with researchers, guiding and influencing their research. The workshops were very well attended, with attendees travelling from far and wide, and an excellent exchange of information ensued.  Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), those attending came with very different backgrounds and experiences and there was information sharing and learning for all. A big thank you to all who attended, a number of whom expressed an interest in getting involved with researchers at NUI Galway. We will hold other public events in the future. 

What is PPI (Public and Patient Involvement) in research?

PPI in research means research carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.  Involvement in research means, for example, activities where patients and members of the public:
•    help to decide what will be researched
•    provide early input into the design of research studies
•    are members of a research study steering committee
•    work with researchers to develop clear, understandable, patient information material  
These activities are distinct from work that is done to raise public awareness of research or to increase participation in research. PPI is also distinct from qualitative research.

Public and patient involvement in research can be described across a spectrum of involvement. At the lowest end of the spectrum, researchers inform the public about their research – this is called engagement rather than involvement.

The degree of involvement rises when researchers consult with the public about research, to more active involvement of the public and patients in research decision making. In PPI, the ultimate goal is to develop equal partnerships between public and patients, researchers and other stakeholders (eg health care professionals), with the partners working together with joint decision-making on all aspects of research, from setting research questions to dissemination of research results and impacting policy. 

What does PPI not include?

PPI does not include:
•    the recruitment of study participants. This is participation in research.
•    work aimed at raising awareness among the public around research, such as open days, public lectures or education events with schools. This is engagement with research.

Why is PPI important?

Patients draw on their lived experience and make judgements based on their understanding of their condition. The contributions of patients, carers or other members of the public provide alternative views from those of the research team, doctors or other healthcare professionals. Patients are experts by experience, living with a condition: she who wears the shoes, know where they pinch.  They may have different aspirations and thoughts about health outcomes that healthcare professionals and researchers may not have considered.  

For more information about PPI, who do I contact?

Edel Murphy
PPI Ignite Programme Office
Room 1037
Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS)
NUI Galway

T: 353 (0)91 495743
 Twitter @PPI_NUIG


NUI Galway Conference Puts the Voice of Patient First in Healthcare Research

In April 2018, the HRB Primary Care CTNI, led from NUI Galway, held the third annual PPI in healthcare research conference, focusing on the theme, ‘Every Voice Matters’. Check out the HRB Primary Care CTNI web site for the presentations from the conference.