Patient, carers and the public

Patients, carers, and the public are essential to our work. Without you clinical research could not happen. This page will give you an overview of the different ways in which you can get involved in clinical research. Click on the tabs below to find out how you can help us to make a difference…

“Delivering research to make patients, and the NHS, better”

RCML logo - final

We have gathered some fantastic stories from people across England, whose lives have been transformed by clinical research. Click on the image to view the stories.  

Research people - web logo 200x166People in research have shared their experiences by filming themselves on hand-held cameras, at home, at work and sometimes on their travels. Click on the image to view the stories.

Take part in research

nhs-uni_170The aim of a clinical research study is to find out important information in relation to a health question in a very systematic way. A well designed research study will provide reliable evidence that can help improve NHS services and treatments and the medical understanding of NHS staff.

To be reliable a study usually involves collating data from a range of people whose health issues fit the topic of the study. Patients are asked if they would like, or ‘consent’, to participate in a study. The data is then usually collated by:

  • Interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Tests on patients in a clinical setting that measure the effects of new drugs
  • Using patient records
  • A combination of the above

If you’re interested in participating in a research study…

Useful documents…

Your health records save lives

Understanding Clinical Trials

INVOLVE Public Information Pack

Learn about research

Learn and network at a Building Research Partnerships workshop

We know that research is most effective when the public are actively involved. The Building Research Partnerships programme encourages NHS staff, patients, carers and the public to work together in all aspects of research activity.

Watch the video

Visit the website

Building Research Partnerships programme website

Discover research with our free online course

Our Massive Open Online Course ‘Improving Healthcare though Clinical Research’ started on 6 June 2016. It’s available to anyone wanting to learn more about clinical research.

Find out more including how to register here

Patient stories

We promote experiences of clinical research in local press from the perspective of patients and carers, to raise awareness of how clinical research can enhance people’s lives.

We have gathered some fantastic stories from people across England, that range from feeling better in day to day life, to knowing more about their condition, to an improvement in health.

You can watch or read the stories here

Keep in touch

  • Register to receive our quarterly newsletter including our latest news and activities which you can get involved with. Enter your email address and select ‘I am a patient/member of the public’ here
  • Follow us on Twitter @NIHRCRN
  • Find us on Facebook /NihrClinicalResearchNetwork

Be a research ambassador

Patient Research Ambassador Initiative

Patient Research Ambassadors are lay people with a passion for research. They want to help provide better patient choice and better patient care through research in their local NHS organisations.

The aim of the Patient Research Ambassador Initiative is to encourage NHS organisations to establish Patient Research Ambassadors to help this happen.

Visit the website

Patient Research Ambassador Initiative website

Patient Research Ambassadors can help:

  • local NHS organisations to improve how they inform patients about research opportunities
  • raise awareness amongst NHS staff of the importance of better research choices for patients
  • write patient friendly information about research
  • influence NHS decision makers through meetings or presentations
  • work with NHS based researchers to develop and run patient friendly research studies

Help to shape research

PPI woman

We need to help make sure that the research we support in the NHS is relevant to patients and ‘patient friendly’. It needs to take into account what is important to patients who might take part, or who might benefit from the results. In various parts of the National Institute for Health Research opportunities occasionally arise. There is a wide range of ways in which you could help to shape research.

Examples of shaping research include:

  • reviewing research proposals as part of a panel
  • checking patient information leaflets are clear and easy to read
  • working alongside research study teams to make sure the patient point of view is considered
  • sitting on a research group within a research organisation locally or nationally

The Clinical Research Network can advise you of these opportunities.

Does your local GP surgery have a patient group?

Patient Participation Groups are made up of volunteer patients, the practice manager and one or more GPs. Their objective is to look at practice services and quality of care and suggest ways in which improvements could be made, find out more.

Contact us

NHS Constitution image 150x148“The NHS commits to inform you of research in which you may be eligible to participate.”





The Clinical Research Network is part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS. This year the NIHR celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Contact us