Chief Scientist Office (CSO) - Supporting Patient and Public Involvement
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10th March 2023
Changing culture isn’t always easy but in the last couple of years, the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) have increased the patient and public involvement (PPI) expectations placed upon researchers applying to CSO for funding, while also increasing the emphasis on PPI within funding committees and their decision making.
One year on from the launch of the Shared Commitment to public involvement in research, we explore developments within CSO.
Applications for funding
Although PPI was already included as a section on application forms, amendments were made to forms to ensure it was evident to researchers that this was an important component and should be an integral part of both the application and the proposed project.
Applications into CSO are assessed by a Panel that always includes Lay members from the Public Engagement Group. These lay members play in important role not only in overseeing the process, but also in providing their views on the proposed research and indicating if they believe the public involvement in the research is appropriate. PPI is also now one of the elements that is scored in the application so can really affect the applications chance of success or otherwise for funding.
Several CSO funding schemes also involve interviewing the applicant and lay members are invited to these, providing an opportunity to ask questions about the research and the PPI activities detailed in applications.
Supporting the next generation of research leaders
One way we are encouraging PPI to become an integral component of how researchers deliver research is a renewed focus on PPI for our Early Career Researchers. Clinical Academic Application forms have been redeveloped to now have a really strong focus on PPI training. This focus has also continued with our post-doctoral funding scheme, where we held an introductory session with our first cohort to help them with their PPI plans and give them support and encouragement, we will build on this work going forward and also extend this support to include our Clinical Academic Fellows
We think it is our job as a funder to encourage and support researchers to work with PPI partners, particularly Early Career Researchers to develop their practice and become a generation of researchers who simply conduct PPI as part of delivering high quality research.