What has working on the PHIRST project been like for you?
‘I have really enjoyed my time working with the team. As someone who has an experience of disability and poor service user experience, it has been an enlightening and positive experience for me joining the PIRg* team. I can see hard working individuals going the distance to try to really make a difference with their research, as well as pushing the boundaries as to what it means to be a social researcher.’
What is important about ppi from your perspective?
‘The focus on the public and who the research (and therefore funding) is for. The clear collaboration between researcher and PPI shows it’s not being treated as a tokenistic aspect of the researchers own personal endeavours in academia.’
‘Tight deadlines and heavy workloads are always a problem in all workplaces! Managing this whilst the focus doesn’t stray from who and why the research is being developed is a challenge that has to be managed.’
What difference do you feel you have made?
‘The team have been really responsive with their feedback and taking on suggestions. I felt quite emotional about the team’s encouragement when it came to the suggestion of focusing on widening access to research and academia, when we were discussing knowledge mobilisation.’
(Picture) Isobel having a restful walk in nature- much needed time away from screens.
*PHIRST- Public in Research group in Hertfordshire University we have 10 members of the public on this team. They are involved at all stages of the research and have done evaluability assessment trained in and done qualitative data analysis. We have developed and given inductions for those new to public involvement and have training on the national standards of PPI. All our involvement work is regularly reflected on by the group and things change and develop collaboratively. We are now being very innovative and giving training around quantitative data analysis methods and will be involving them in that soon. We also have project specific public voice consultation groups. The Herts team really value and support Public Involvement.