Join a funding committee
We involve patients, carers and members of the public in the work of decision-making committees.
People who join our committees as public members have an equal footing with the clinical and academic members. They have the key task of bringing a patient and public perspective to the discussions.
You can join one of the national or regional committees that recommend which research projects should be funded or a committee that prioritises research for funding.
How it works
The NIHR has nine research programmes that award funding for research projects in health, public health and social care. Researchers apply to these programmes for funding for their research ideas.
We decide which research projects to prioritise or recommend for funding by holding regular committees to seek the views of clinicians, academics and patients, carers and members of the public.
The committees are run by two of the NIHR coordinating centres; the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC).
What it involves
NIHR committee meetings take place two to three times per year, depending on the research programme.
Committees have approximately 20 members, which include at least two public members.
Meetings last for one or two days, depending on the committee. They all take place in London with the exception of Research for Patient Benefit committees, which take place regionally.
Ahead of the committee meeting, members are asked to read and assess research documents that are routinely lengthy and complex.
At the meeting, you will be invited to contribute to the discussions and decision-making that takes place, offering advice from a general point of view as a member of the public and as someone who has knowledge and experience as a patient, carer or service user.
My role on the committee was to provide a patient and public perspective when evaluating research proposals for funding. PPI members have valuable experiences and perspectives that complement those of healthcare professionals, hence ensuring delivery of public benefit. I was treated as an equal and integral part of the committee and my contributions were respected
- Public committee member
How to join in
We are keen to involve patients, carers and members of the public who are interested in a broad range of health and social care issues and research, beyond their own personal experience.
We are looking for patients, carers, service users and members of the public who have never had a professional or managerial role in health or social care services or in research.
We exclude current or former health and social care managers and professionals because their skills and knowledge are already reflected on the committees. Some examples are: current or former social workers, health research managers, nurses, health or social science researchers, medical doctors, health economists, opticians, clinical research officers, pharmacists, and so on.
We recruit new committee members once a year, usually in March and April. If you would like to be notified of future opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance and support
We’ve developed an interactive training course for the public on reviewing funding applications for research. The training includes a module on things to consider when reviewing research as a committee member.
Our ‘Top tips’ for new public members provides advice on what you might want to consider before the meeting and at the meeting, from people who have sat on our committees.