Lived Experience of Cancer


At Birmingham we are driven by the overarching mission of delivering research that matters. This means that our cancer research keeps people affected by the disease at the heart of all that we do.

Consequently, we strive to involve these individuals in our cancer research activity, seeking their experiences and insights which are truly invaluable. Our aim is to foster meaningful partnerships to collaboratively develop research working with the public, be that patients, carers or anyone else with an interest in cancer.

We are keen to involve people affected by cancer in the full spectrum of our research. This encompasses discovery science, translational research aligned with our Institutes in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, experimental cancer research supported by the Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, and innovative cancer trial development and delivery by the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit.

How to get involved

The Involvement and Engagement in Cancer Research at Birmingham (ICRB) group was set up in 2018 and is open to people affected by any type of cancer, be they patients, members of the public or carers. The group offers opportunities for individuals to contribute towards cancer research at Birmingham. The group meets 4-5 times a year and ad hoc as opportunities arise. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has moved to meet virtually.

We welcome new members to this group at any time. To find out more, please email our CRUK Senior Research Nurse, Karen Turner.

Additional opportunities for involvement and engagement are given below:

ECMC cancer research infrastructure Mar22

Support for researchers

If you are seeking guidance on patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in relation to your research, there are a number of routes you can explore.

The College of Medical & Dental Sciences, Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Team web portal provides useful guidance and resources, and opportunities for training and support. Together with the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Leads at the University Hospitals Birmingham, they run fortnightly drop in sessions, offering an opportunity to informally discuss projects at any stage of development and training workshops. For details of upcoming sessions / workshops and to register your interest in participating, email

You could also seek to collaborate with the ICRB group, to develop your research. Whilst they are happy to contribute to research at any stage of development, best practice is to involve the group at the design stage of new proposals. To find out more, please email Karen Turner.

Additional resources for researchers:

  • Cancer Research UK has an excellent resource in the researcher PPIE toolkit.
  • NIHR Involve Standards define what good public involvement in research looks like and are a framework that can be adapted to different situations. They can enable you to assess your activity, and identify potential areas to improve.
  • Cancer Research UK has a network of Research Engagement Managers, who facilitate activities to showcase the work supported by CRUK to supporters and the public. These include research lab tours and involvement in outreach and community events. If you would like to contribute to CRUK’s research engagement activities, please contact Lara Eirug.
  • The University Public Engagement with Research (PER) Team supports events and opportunities, offers advice on event design/delivery, training, resources and collaboration. They also have a monthly newsletter, hold monthly breakfast brainstorming sessions, and run a quarterly grant funding call.