Saturday, 15 April 2017

Grant application success (Patient and Public Involvement with Parkinson's UK)

I'm very pleased to have been awarded a small grant from the good folks at Parkinson's UK! It was my first real grant application so I'm feeling very happy about it.

The grant will be able to help me better include Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in my research. PPI is about involving the wider public as more than just participants. It's about including patients (if the research is clinical) and the public in the whole research cycle. Their contribution can be as big as informing your initial research questions so that it's more relevant to them. They may help write the plain English sections of the ethics application. They could help refine the methodology so that participants are comfortable throughout data collection. They can even help you disseminate your findings in plain English once the study is complete. There are so many opportunities for PPI in the research cycle, and it helps break down the barriers between scientists and participants.

I'm really looking forward to this opportunity, especially as the team from Parkinson's UK will be helping me to set up an initial meeting with a panel of PPI volunteers! I'm also quite nervous as this is a new venture for me. I don't have as much experience as I'd like with PPI. However, everybody I've ever met through my research into Parkinson's have been exceptionally lovely people! I'm looking forward to seeing what insight they have to offer to my whole PhD project plans.

Often participants with Parkinson's will say something totally off the cuff whilst in the lab that end up sparking new ideas for research. I think sometimes participants can underestimate how valuable their contribution is, and so I hope we can make our new panel of volunteers feel welcome and comfortable sharing their ideas.

Time to get planning!