In March 2022, the NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) launched a Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in health and social care research. Since joining the host of organisations in November 2022, we have worked to embed this commitment into our decision-making projects and processes.

“Talking about public involvement best practice is one thing, whereas actually committing to improve the extent and quality of public involvement across your organisation by sharing ideas and learning from others, shows real leadership in this area.


“Attending the public Contributors Group allows me to not only hear about new initiatives being undertaken in other organisations that can be referred on to HDR UK, but also to contribute by informing others of HDR UK’s public involvement activities.”


Alan Holcroft, a member of HDR UK’s Public Advisory Board and Shared Commitment to Public Involvement Public Contributors Group.


Working with the public as partners

HDR UK are dedicated to ensuring our work is driven by the public’s needs, by working to embed the voices of patients, carers, and the public voice at the heart of our research projects, processes, and outputs.

As part of our own commitment, we actively work with the public as partners in our decision-making processes to identify and address complex and challenging issues around the access and use of data for research.

For example, our Public Advisory Board played a vital role in collaborating with us to help build trustworthy data access processes. They have significantly contributed to developing a set of principles that represent the building blocks of a standardised Data Access Agreement .

Additionally, they have contributed to the development of Transparency Standards, which aim to ensure clear communication with the public regarding data access and use, and the shortlist of projects funded to their implantation.

Increasing opportunities for engagement with patients and the public

Across the HDR UK community, we prioritise active involvement and ongoing  dialogue with patients, carers,  and the public.

Our HDR UK Stories campaign serves as a prime example of how we foster increased engagement. This effort is complemented by our participation in events such as the Humber Science Festival and, more recently, the Northern Ireland Festival.

These initiatives were developed and delivered with valuable input from members of the public, including HDR UK Voices or Public Advisory Board members. As we seek new and inclusive ways of engagement, we invite you to share your thoughts with us.

Fostering collaboration between the public and the research community

To ensure consistent and meaningful involvement across the data sector, we are collaborating with researchers and organisations through the Public Engagement in Data Research Initiative (PEDRI).

As part of this initiative, we ran a pilot health data campaign, Your data in action, aimed at raising awareness of how data for research can make a difference to parents and their children. Additionally, we conducted a survey to investigate resources currently available for conducting public involvement and engagement activities in data-driven research.

Currently, we are focused on refining the Draft Best Practice Standards for Public Involvement and Engagement in data research and statistics. These standards are undergoing editing following consultation through a survey and a series of workshops.

New initiative to build on joint pledge to improve public involvement

To mark the anniversary, the HRA have announced the launch of  Shared Commitment Learning and Sharing meetings. These meetings will see the organisations that are part of the Shared Commitment come together every quarter to share guidance, best practice and innovations in public involvement. Members of the public will also be involved to discuss challenges and barriers to making public involvement in research the norm. Find out more about this latest initiative.