Joint Research Office


New guidance on PPI in lab-based research

7 December 2020

New guidance and a website on public involvement in lab-based research have been published by an innovative project run by UCLH BRC, Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK, in partnership with patients and researchers.

The guidance for lab-based researchers at all stages of their careers was drawn up with patients and researchers in the light of results of a project looking at patient and public involvement (PPI) in six early stage research studies. The website provides practical and accessible advice for researchers.

A lot of guidance has been written on involving patients and the public in clinical research. But there’s very little aimed at researchers who work mainly in a laboratory, who may have very little or no contact with people affected by the condition they are studying. The project was set up with the aim of supporting lab based researchers struggling with patient involvement.

PPI activities were followed and researchers and patients were interviewed during the six studies, which ranged from a PhD to a large scale programme grant how laboratory-based researchers can involve patients and the public in their work.

Key guidance focuses on:

  • How to find people to involve
  • How to explain research
  • How to plan PPI activities

Of the six studies, one supported by the Alzheimer’s Society is exploring how infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections can alter the brain, by looking at post mortem brain samples.

In another Parkinson’s UK supported study researchers aim to develop biomarkers that could help to identify sub-groups of Parkinson’s at an early stage in the condition.

And a UCLH BRC supported study is looking at the use of cell therapies to enhance tissue healing is an emerging field within regenerative medicine.

Visit the new website called Planning for Involvement which includes the report which informed the development of this guidance.