PPI in research and engaged research

Public and patient involvement (PPI) in research means that the public and patients are involved in planning and doing research from start to finish and help tell the public about the results of research. PPI research ensures that those who are most affected and impacted by the research conducted have a say in what research is done and how it is done.

Our PPI vision is to embed dynamic, meaningful and high-impact patient and public involvement throughout all RCSI-led research. The Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) is highly supportive of PPI collaborations to conduct innovative, high-quality research with significant ‘real world’ impact for patients in terms of breakthrough medical technologies, effective healthcare treatments and patient data analysis that directly informs public health services and policy.

As a patient-centric institution, RCSI fully appreciates that people with lived experience of healthcare conditions, family members and public stakeholders have unique perspectives that can improve the quality of the research, right from research design through to dissemination of results and translation into healthcare practise.

RCSI academics, clinicians and students seek to accelerate research partnerships firmly focused on identifying and meeting patient and public priorities for improved healthcare outcomes, and to contribute to this national PPI Ignite Network partnership between academia, patient organisations and the public. In tandem, we will champion patient and public partnership as central to healthcare development for our current students – and in this way, establish these PPI principles for our future healthcare leaders. 

The RCSI PPI in Research Committee was established in 2020 with the goal of improving PPI in research conducted across the university. The aim is to ensure that patient needs, expertise and preferences inform research across all research stages and types, including pre-clinical, translational and clinical research and to ensure ongoing enhancement in PPI is embedded in RCSI’s strategic priorities. The RCSI PPI team, based in the Office of Research and Innovation, share learnings and collaborate with the Irish National PPI Ignite Network, the Health Research Board and many international research peers and collaborators.

The Committee is an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder group comprising of 13 members. There are two public and/or patient involvement representatives, two research support staff, three clinician scientists, and five academic healthcare researchers. All of the public and/or patient representatives were appointed from the RCSI professional network of healthcare research contacts due to their significant experience of furthering PPI research in the medical and healthcare fields. The Committee members work to agreed terms of reference, serve for two years, and then membership is reviewed.

Engaged research

Engaged research describes a wide range of rigorous research approaches and methodologies that share a common interest in collaborative engagement with the community. It aims to improve, understand, or investigate an issue of public interest or concern, including societal challenges.

The RCSI Engage Strategy 2023-2027 aligns with Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy and the ambitions of the National Action Plan for Open Research which aim to embed the engagement of citizens, public, patients and the end users of research across the entire research process. It will also support the development of public engagement with research, strengthen links between open research and related agendas and activities including research culture, research integrity, open education, and public engagement with research (also referred to as citizen science).

RCSI actively engages with communities on an international scale across Africa, Asia, and other resource-poor regions. The RCSI Institute of Global Surgery supports the training, retention, upskilling and career development of surgery, anaesthesia, nursing, and obstetric caregivers from health workers to specialists and strengthens the delivery of surgical services and the surgical ecosystem. All RCSI international global surgery projects are carried out with local partners to foster long-term benefits and sustainability for surgically underserved populations and aim to ensure children and rural communities have access to surgical care.

One sample project is SURG-Water through which researchers in the Institute of Global Surgery are increasing access to safe water in rural health centres in Malawi to improve maternal health outcomes. The RCSI SURG-Water team is one of six competing research teams developing innovative solutions to climate action challenges in the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Irish Aid Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Challenge.

Get in touch

If you wish to collaborate or get involved in PPI at RCSI, please contact us through the email addresses below. You can also find news and updates via our social media channel: @PPI_Ignite_Net X.

Michelle Flood, RCSI PPI Ignite Network Lead. Email: michelleflood@rcsi.com
Niamh Dillon, RCSI PPI in Research Manager. Email: niamhdillon@rcsi.com