Learn about research
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.
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.
Improving healthcare through clinical research is an online course and is free of charge. It's available to anyone and is delivered online so you can complete it at your own pace. The course has been designed to explain the basics of how research is developed, who carries it out and why it's so important. There is lots of video content so it's easy to follow.
The NIHR Journals Library provides information relating to its research throughout the life of each project, on individual research pages.
Volunteer to improve research
If 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:
If you actively want to promote health research this is the activity for you. You could be anyone - member of the public, patient, carer - as long as you are enthusiastic about health research and are comfortable talking to people about it.
Interested in becoming an ambassador?
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 email or call them on 023 8059 9302.
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
If you’re looking for something more specialist or something specific to your location, here are other research registries you might wish to contact:
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 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. Find out more.
Sign up to Join Dementia Research to help beat dementia.
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 Scotland, Alzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Society have developed Join Dementia Research, a service which 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.
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.
Learn about other UK Research Registries.