Supporting public involvement in research design and grant development : A case study of a public involvement award scheme managed by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS)
Background: It is good practice for the public to be involved in developing health research. Resources should be available for researchers to fund the involvement of the public in the development of their grants. Objective: To describe a funding award scheme to support public involvement in grant development, managed by an NIHR Research Design Service (RDS). Case examples of how the award contributed to successful grant applications and findings from a recent evaluation of the scheme are presented. Design: A case study of resource provision to support public involvement activities in one region of England. Participants: University and NHS-based researchers, and members of the public. Findings: Between 2009 and 2012, the RDS approved 45 public involvement funding awards (totalling nearly £19 000). These awards contributed to 27 submitted applications at the time of writing, of which 11 were successful (totalling over £7.5 million). The evaluation revealed difficulties encountered by some researchers when involving the public in grant development, which led to suggestions about how the scheme could be improved. Conclusion: This award scheme represents an efficient method of providing researchers with resources to involve the public in grant development and would appear to represent good value for money.