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Press Release

Press release

HRB seeks public input on research proposals

2 March 2017

The Health Research Board is inviting members of the public to review aspects of the health research proposals they receive.

Speaking about the initiative Mairead O'Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the HRB said

‘We are inviting people from all walks of life to become public reviewers. It’s the first time something like this has been done in Ireland. It reflects a concerted effort by the HRB to involve people in the research process, rather than people being the subject of research'.  

Reviewers will be invited to give their views on certain aspects of selected research proposals which the HRB receive for funding. They can do this in their own time, at home and will be paid for each review completed. It doesn’t have to be done in one sitting, but the assessment will need to be completed within a pre-agreed period of time. 

According to Dr Siobhán Hendrick, who is implementing this pilot project,

‘Almost everyone* can take part in this public review process. You do not need previous experience or qualifications. You may be a patient, carer or health service user currently, or in the past, but this is not a requirement. We are all potential users of the health services eventually and the opinions of people from all walks of life are important to us. The HRB will provide training, support and guidance throughout the process'.     

Each year the HRB receive several hundred research proposals. To date they have been reviewed by experts in the relevant research field, this is known as peer review. Whilst the expert review will continue, the HRB would now like to complement this with the views of the public reviewers.  

Each public reviewer will be given a small number of proposals to review. Initially they will give feedback on aspects of the research proposal such as whether the researchers are asking the right questions and whether the people participating in the research are being approached in the right way. 

This feedback will be sent back to the researcher to take on board if the proposal is funded, and for their consideration in future proposals. Over time if this pilot is successful, we will see the public reviewers input become part of the overall rating of the research proposal.  

This approach has been underway for a number of years internationally and the general consensus is that involving members of the public in the review process helps to improve the quality of the research funded by ensuring that the research is relevant to the needs of the public.  

People who are interested, or want to find out more should visit www.hrb.ie/PPI or email shendrick(at)hrb.ie  

* This excludes current healthcare professionals or current health researchers.

ENDS  

For more information contact:

Gillian Markey, Communications Manager, Health Research Board
m 00353 87 2288514
e gmarkey@hrb.ie

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