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Then there were seven: a commentary on creating a public involvement strategy group for a policy research unit in behavioural science

Lookup NU author(s): Stuart Edwards, Caroline Kemp, Maisie McKenzie, Sudhir Shah, Irene Soulsby



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s). The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Policy Research Unit in Behavioural Science (PRU-BS) was funded to inform government on the application of behavioural science in health and social care policy. What makes this unit different to other topic specific ones, was the wide range of its brief. Because of this, the PPI group would need to include a wide range of experience and expertise and be prepared to learn. We were a different type of public group for a different type of task. This paper deals with how we approached this. In this paper we outline how the PPI plan in the funding proposal for the PRU-BS was adapted to real world challenges. We describe the stages in the formation of the PPI Strategy Group and how a virtual platform was created to ensure good communication. We discuss our pragmatic approach of developing Terms of Reference and a PPI strategy document. Given the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic we explain how we tackled PPI SG member induction sessions, meetings and training sessions. To illustrate how the group operates we provide an example of our involvement in a PRU-BS project. Central to our paper is the lessons we learned. We hope the challenges we met in forming the unique PPI SG, how these were overcome, and our recommendations will help others faced with a similar task.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Green D, Bryant V, Edwards S, Kemp C, McKenzie M, Shah S, Soulsby I

Publication type: Note

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research Involvement and Engagement

Year: 2023

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 04/02/2023

Acceptance date: 27/01/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2056-7529

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s40900-023-00413-w