Other ways to get involved

There are many opportunities to support research. Whether it's learning more about it or suggesting topics, there are lots of ways you can help to improve health and care in the UK.

Learn about research

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Start by developing your understanding about what health and social care research is about and hearing from others who've taken part and what it meant for them.

Participating in research is a positive experience - but don't just take our word for it.

Real life stories

Research volunteers have shared their stories of how research has benefited them and their family.  Read real life stories. If you have a story to tell about taking part please email us at bepartofresearch@nihr.ac.uk.

Find out what other people think about taking part

The NIHR asks thousands of research volunteers to feedback on their experience of taking part in research every year. Read the highlights from the latest Patient Research Experience Survey which is used to help identify ways to improve the experience.

Understand more about research - an online course

This online course called Link to Future learn website  is delivered over 4 weeks and is free of charge. The next course starts on 7 October 2019 and it's an excellent introduction to the world of research and why it's so important for our healthcare today and in the future. 

Anyone can take part and the course is available and delivered online so you can complete it at your own pace. You will learn the basics of how research is developed, who carries it out and why it's so important.  Video content so it's easy to follow. 

Journals library

The Link to the NIHR Journals Library provides information relating to its research throughout the life of each project, on individual research pages. 

Volunteer to improve research

Volunteers attending a session user testing the new Be Part of Research websiteIf you have a more time, feel confident enough to get more involved or have already taken part in a research study you might be interested in a more formal volunteer role:

Become a Patient Research Ambassador

Individuals who've taken part in research often feel very passionate about getting more involved.  If this is you and you'd like to actively promote health research you could become a Patient Research Ambassador. It's open to anyone, whether you're a member of the public, patient, carer - as long as you are enthusiastic about health research and are comfortable talking to people about it.   If you're interested in becoming an ambassador find out more.

Become a Public Reviewer

If you have direct personal experience of a research topic, whether as a carer, patient or someone who’s used healthcare services, this role could be for you. If the study relates to your paid employment, then this role is probably not for you.

To begin with, you’ll have an informal telephone call with a member of the Public Reviewer team to make sure they have a good understanding of your areas of experience and knowledge. You can sign up anytime by emailing publicreview@nihr.ac.uk or by telephone 023 8059 9302.

People in Research

People in Research is an online list of the opportunities available to you. Researchers use it to find members of the public who want to get involved in their research.

Be part of more research

woman on the phone 250x166If you’re looking for something more specialist or something specific to your location, here are other research registries you might wish to contact:

BioResource bank

20 million people in the UK live with chronic diseases which can have a major impact on their quality of life and family. Joining the bank means you are helping the future development of healthcare provision and the long-term prevention and treatment of disease.  

If you decide to join the bank you will donate a blood or saliva sample, from which your DNA can be extracted. You'll be asked to complete a healthcare questionnaire and consent form. This is so you can be matched to a specific research study.  You will also need to grant access to your medical and healthcare records.  

Your sample is turned into a unique ID so the research team will not know who you are. If you match their criteria you will then be invited to take part in the study. You decide whether to participate and will only be invited to a maximum of four studies a year.  Visit the NIHR BioResource centre website to find out more.

Watch a short film about the BioResource bank.

Join Dementia Research

Our knowledge of dementia currently lags behind that of other major conditions, such as cancer or heart disease. This is why the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in partnership with Alzheimer ScotlandAlzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Society has developed Join Dementia Research.  It's a service that allows people to register their interest in participating in dementia research and be matched to suitable studies.  

Everybody now has that chance to see what dementia research is taking place, both in their local area and across the nation. The service connects researchers with people who want to participate in studies.

Register your interest in research

If you’re interested in taking part in research in the UK, you might be interested in a particular service that allows you to register your interest in particular types of research.

By registering you could increase your chances of taking part in a study, as the researchers will contact you when something suitable comes along.

Visit our other UK Research Registries webpage.

Health and Care Research Wales

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Health and Care Research Wales is an organisation funded and overseen by the Welsh Government’s Research and Development Division.  It helps support and increase capacity in research and development (R&D) and manages funding for research. 

Members of the public play an essential role in making research happen across Wales. Visit their website to ind out how to make a difference