New best practice principles for public involvement

Last updated on 9 Jul 2019

We are launching new guidelines on how to involve patients and the public well in research.

A medical professional talking to a patient

A new section of the website provides details about how to involve relevant patients and other members of the public in the research which is intended to benefit them. 

The new webpages introduce four key principles for best practice in public involvement:

  • 1. Involve the right people – people who have lived experience relevant to the health condition or social care situation being researched, and to the people the study will aim to recruit as participants
  • 2. Involve enough people to provide a reasonable breadth and depth of views on the issues that are likely to be important to the people the study will aim to recruit, and who it is intended to benefit
  • 3. Involve those people enough in as many aspects of the study as is feasible, productive, and appropriate to the research - and at the right times
  • 4. Describe in your application how it helps using the question specific guidance in the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) to make it clear how involving people well helps to address potential ethical issues.

The guidelines have been produced by the HRA Public Involvement Team, which works with researchers, patients and the public to ensure patients and the public are placed at the centre of health and social care research.


“These principles are intended to clarify what funders, sponsors and researchers should take into consideration when planning their research. We hope they’ll be a real asset to guide people through the process. They help set out how you can fulfil your responsibilities to involve patients, service users and the public in the design, management, conduct and dissemination of research. These responsibilities are set out in the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.”

Jim Elliott, Public Involvement Lead

The new webpages also include practical resources and information about how to get started with public involvement.

We strongly advise that applicants for regulatory approvals plan for working with patients and other members of the public. 

Our Public Involvement Team can be contacted for guidance and support at We welcome feedback on the new webpages

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