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Public Review Process

HRB Pilot Initiative to Involve the Public in Reviewing Research Proposals

In our strategy, we made a commitment to promote the engagement of the public and patients in the research we support. Therefore in February 2017, we will launch a new pilot initiative that will involve members of the public in reviewing certain aspects of research proposals.

As researchers have had formal and informal feedback on their scientific methodology for many years, and have honed their skills through this, we hope to achieve a similar improvement in Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) methodology through providing dedicated feedback on the quality of PPI from Public Reviewers. At this stage the feedback will play no role in the scoring and funding decisions of the HRB international selection panels, and scientific quality will be assessed, as always, by international peer reviewers.

For a selection of proposals submitted to the HRB Investigator-Led Projects call in 2016/17, public reviewers will be asked to provide dedicated feedback on the quality of PPI described in the research proposal, or how PPI could be improved. This was set out in the call document. At this stage, feedback from the public reviewers will be sent only to the researchers. No public review will be made available to the international selection panels during the pilot.

The timeline for securing public reviews is independent of the timeline for the scientific review and the panel meetings, and the public review will not cover all applications. The HRB will form a dedicated database of Public Reviewers, which will allow the matching of applications to people who have expressed an interest in reviewing the PPI aspect of applications.

When the pilot is complete, we will evaluate the process for feasibility of using public reviewers and also the perceived benefits of such a review from both the researchers and the reviewers’ perspectives. Depending on the outcome of the pilot evaluation, a decision about the roll out to other schemes will be taken. However, if PPI is to be included in the scoring criteria, this will be highlighted when the call is issued.




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