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Involvement and engagement

We place people, patients, public and under-served groups at the heart of our work enabling us to address patient safety needs and inequalities. Involvement, engagement and participation is one of the ways we do this.

We involve and engage with health and care practitioners, and patients across our research. This helps to ensure our work is based on an understanding of the experiences of patients and their carers who access services as well as the health care practitioners who deliver services.

What is patient and public involvement?

When research is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ the following:

  • Patients, carers and members of the public (referred to as PPIE)
  • Health and care practitioners
  • Communities and grassroot organisations
  • Charities
  • Academic institutes such as universities
  • Other NIHR funded centres

What is public engagement?

This is a two-way process where researchers engage with members of the public and wider communities by listening and interacting to share research ideas and findings. There are various ways of doing this including running workshops, creative arts events, and media coverage.

What is research participation?

Participation refers to taking part in a research study such as joining a focus group, taking part in an interview, or completing a questionnaire.

Members of the public taking part in a PPIE focus group.

Involvement, Engagement and Participation in the GM PSTRC

Involvement, Engagement and Participation plays a vital role in our work. 

Members of our PPIE groups are actively and meaningfully involved and engaged with our research. Where possible our research is co-produced and co-designed. This means our researchers, health, and care practitioners along with members of the public work together to make decisions. We support our public contributors to act as co-researchers and encourage them to steer and conduct the research (known as public led or peer led research).

We follow the NIHR’s approach to PPIE.

PPIE and governance of the GM PSTRC

Members of the public are involved in our Executive Management Board as non-executive lay members so PPIE is imbedded in how the centre is governed.

The importance of inclusivity and diversity in PPIE

Diversity and inclusion are central to our PPIE work. At the heart of our approach are the core values of inclusivity, respect, and transparency. Our researchers are leaders in this area and wrote this guide along with members of one of our PPIE groups.

We use the NIHR’s INCLUDE tools to improve the inclusion of underserved groups in research. The NIHR’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion toolkit is also followed by researchers.

Engaging with local communities and grassroots organisations

We engage with local communities and work with grassroots organisations across Greater Manchester and the East Midlands (due to our partnership with The University of Nottingham).

In our research study which aimed to co-design a patient-safety intervention to increase access to safe care for people experiencing homelessness in Greater Manchester, we partnered with a national homeless charity, Groundswell. Read more in this blog post.

Award winning PPIE

Our research teams were recognised for inspiring inclusive involvement in the NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester Evening of Excellence 2021. The event celebrated the achievements of research teams across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire. You can read more about these awards in this blog post.


Involvement and engagement with NIHR infrastructure

We work closely in partnership with other NIHR infrastructure groups to strengthen our ability to deliver PPIE in an effective and inclusive way, increasing impact.

Partnerships with other NIHR Infrastructure

Working in partnership with other NIHR infrastructure groups strengthen how we deliver PPIE in an effective and inclusive way, and this increases the impact of the work. For example, we work with:

  • Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM)
  • Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)
  • Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF)
  • School for Primary Care Research (SPCR)
  • School for Social Care Research (SSCR)
  • Policy Research Units (PRUs)

Greater Manchester Public and Community Involvement and Engagement Forum

Professor Caroline Sanders, lead for our Patient and Carers work, chairs the Greater Manchester Public and Community Involvement and Engagement Forum.

This involves working in partnership with another NIHR funded centre, ARC-GM, and with other teams that are part of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, and with Health Innovation Manchester. It also includes membership for many voluntary sector organisations from across Greater Manchester and beyond.


Involvement and engagement with health and care practitioners

Health and care practitioners play a vital role in testing and ultimately implementing our work so it can start making a difference in health and social care settings.

Health and care practitioner involvement

Health and care practitioners are involved in our research, and this involvement can take the form of:

  • Using the research we produce, and telling us what it’s like delivering our interventions to patients.
  • Informing us of any potential issues that may arise in practice.
  • Being more aware of our work and its potential impact which improves take-up of the interventions we design.

Examples of health and care practitioner involvement

Examples of projects that health and care practitioners have been involved in are:


Highlights of GM PSTRC PPIE

Here are some highlights of the NIHR GM PSTRC's Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement work.

Increased opportunities for people from under-represented groups to take part in research

The GM PSTRC has increased the number of opportunities for people from under-represented groups to take part in research. Our public members are contributing to our decision making and our research plans have relevance to our local communities.

An example of this is the work we’re doing with different Greater Manchester communities, charities, public contributors, and stakeholders. such as a workshop we held with another NIHR  funded centre, ARC-GM. The event brought together public and patient contributors, members of the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector to address health inequalities through research about health and social care.

Increased the range of activities public members can be involved in

We have increased the range of activities public members can be involved in. We work with adults and carers with lived experience of self-harm or suicide and arrange and host PPIE meetings for co-production and engage with our public contributors through workshops, email updates and interactive social media discussions.

An example of our innovative work in this area was a virtual exhibition designed with members of our mental health PPIE group, ‘Hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic: perspectives from people with personal experience of self-harm, suicide, and mental health’.

Shared learning about I&E with the wider research community and NIHR

Outputs from our involvement and engagement (I&E) work are disseminated and we share our learning about I&E with the wider research community and NIHR.

For example: Our mental health PPIE group helped NIHR revise their learning examples for PPI contributors about better ways to comply with ‘plain English’ principles by suggesting changes to the training examples. These suggestions were welcomed by NIHR who have revised their training materials accordingly.

Addressing health inequalities across our projects

We are working to address health inequalities across our projects. For example, we’re working with pharmacists and people with vision impairment to improve medication safety. Another of our projects is working to improve outcomes for people living with dementia in the community.

Working on maternity outcomes for Black and Asian ethnic minority communities

We are currently working with community groups and grassroots organisations to co-develop a project focused on maternity outcomes for women from Black and Asian ethnic minority communities.

Summary of our strategy developed with PPIE members

The purpose of the NIHR GMPSTRC Patient, Public, Involvement and Engagement strategy is to ensure that research activities involving the public developed by the GM PSTRC reflect and meet the needs of the patients, healthcare professionals, providers and commissioners, as well as researchers.


To embed Patient, Public, Involvement and Engagement within all research and dissemination carried out by the GM PSTRC.

Objectives of PPIE at the GM PSTRC:

  • Maximise diversity and enable inclusive involvement and co-production in our research
  • Enable inclusive engagement and communication with relevant patient groups, communities and stakeholders about our research
  • Work in partnership with patients, carers and communities to enable inclusive participation in our research
  • Evaluate changes and impact and continuously improve our PPIE work