What is PPIE?

This section explains what we mean by involvement and engagement, why it’s so important and who can get involved.

What is Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE)?

Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) describes the different ways in which members of the public can inform and shape research.

PPIE is different to research participation where members of the public can directly take part in a study, for example by being given a new treatment as part of a clinical trial.

Public involvement describes when members of the public use their views and personal experience of illness and treatment to help to prioritise, plan, deliver, evaluate and share health and social care research.

“Public involvement in research is research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.”

National Institute for Health Research

Public engagement refers to activities or events where information about, and findings from, our research are shared with the public.

“Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of…research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.”

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Why do we value PPIE?

The University of Birmingham aims to do ‘research that matters’, which means research that makes a real difference to the lives of the people it is intended to benefit. Here in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, we involve and engage patients and the public with our work to understand what is important to them, to make sure our research is relevant and carried out appropriately. Find out about the breadth of involvement happening across the College.

“No matter how complicated the research, or how brilliant the researcher, patients and the public always offer unique, invaluable insights. Their advice when designing, implementing and evaluating research invariably makes studies more effective, more credible and often more cost efficient as well.”

- Professor Dame Sally Davies,
Chief Medical Officer (2011-2019)

As well as positively impacting the outcomes of research, PPIE can also have many benefits for those taking part and those doing the research.

Benefits to patients and the public contributing to PPIE include:

  • Opportunities to give back and use healthcare experiences to improve things for others,
  • New skills, knowledge, experiences and chance to meet new people,
  • Enjoyment and satisfaction and a chance to raise awareness with the public.

Benefits for researchers and others supporting PPIE include:

  • Improved relationships with communities and increased public trust,
  • Increased credibility and recognition from the public, funders, peers and other stakeholders,
  • More efficient, effective and impactful research.

Who can get involved?

Anyone can get involved it PPIE. We usually refer to people who are involved in our research as public contributors.

When we say ‘public contributors’, we include:

  • Patients, potential patients and those directly affected by the topic being researched;
  • Carers, friends and family of patients and members of the community who have lived experience of being close to someone affected by the topic being researched;
  • People from organisations that represent affected people.

We encourage and support research teams to prioritise equality, diversity and inclusion. We aim for involvement opportunities to be accessible to all and we will actively promote them to groups in our local communities.