Engagement & Involvement
Understanding patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) with the practices of animal research
Public and Patient Interfaces with Animal Research
Biomedical research is increasingly expected to be open and transparent, to translate laboratory findings into new drugs and treatments for humans and animals, and to engage the publics and patients who stand to benefit from this research. These demands have led to rapid growth in new forms of public and patient engagement and involvement across health research and clinical delivery. These innovations are beginning to open up new interfaces with the practices of animal research.
Animal facilities are opening their doors to host public tours and patient events. Patient groups are inviting animal researchers to provide updates at their meetings. Medical charities, who have close relationships with these scientists, are initiating discussions amongst their members about the use of animals. Public involvement practitioners are introducing conversations about animal research into activities that inform research priorities. Social media and short films are creating new spaces for public conversations between researchers and patients about the use of animals in their work.
At the University of Exeter, our work involved attending these events and talking to everyone involved to understand the range of opportunities, challenges, and questions these encounters create. We have used the idea of the animal research nexus to highlight the different expectations and experiences that organisers, researchers, and participants have of these events, and to work towards enhancing their value for everyone.
We published an Interim Report from our research to share our findings with research participants in early 2019. We have continued to work on analysis and developing these findings into presentations for different audiences and academic articles. In 2022, we published our report of practical next steps for Informing research involvement around animal research and devised a training workshop for researchers considering patient involvement, which was part of Beth Greenhough's work on Care-full stories.
If you have questions or suggestions about our research on public and patient interfaces with animal research, please feel free to contact Prof Gail Davies. This work would not have been possibly without the invaluable contributions of Dr Rich Gorman and Dr Gabrielle King, who have both now moved onto new roles where they are supporting the involvement of people affected by health conditions in the research that affects them.
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Are you interested in what conversations with patients or carers might offer your research? Or do you think patient involvement with biomedical research is not a current priority?
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