NIHR Sheffield BRC & CRF

Patient & Public Involvement & Engagement (PPIE) Strategy

 2022 - 2027


Section 1. Introduction 

Our vision is to embed Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) across the lifecycle of clinical research that we conduct, from informing research priorities to study design and through to how we disseminate results. We want to ensure the trials we deliver serve the needs of patients, the community and the NHS, and want our findings to be communicated effectively.

PPI is at varying levels of activity and maturity throughout our growing research organisations in Sheffield. We have 18 well established Patient Panels at our NHS Trust and community links built around specific projects where high-quality involvement and sustained partnerships have demonstrated substantive impacts, for example:

We have also identified some areas for improvement. Current Patient Panels often lack the diversity representative of the patient population in Sheffield. New panels are needed for underserved groups. Processes for gathering feedback and updating patients on study progress, including those who were involved at earlier stages in shaping research plans, need improvements, as does the accessibility of research more broadly.

We plan to learn from best practice examples and the UK Standards for Public Involvement to: (1) inform our approach; (2) provide training, guidance and resources for involvement throughout the research cycle and (3) to develop an outreach programme to widen research awareness.

Over the next 5 years we will build on our existing involvement capacity, fostering new links with Primary Care Sheffield and a core Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy to widen research awareness and involvement to include more underserved groups in the region. We aim to diversify, broaden, and deepen patient and public involvement in our research.

Section 2. Aims

Section 3. About Us

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Sheffield Clinical Research Facility (CRF) and NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) are part of the NIHR, hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STH) in partnership with the University of Sheffield (UoS) that work together delivering clinical research locally.

The BRC develops academic science emerging from the University of Sheffield into clinical research in the themes of Neuroscience, Infection and Immunity, Cardiovascular Disease, and Imaging and Engineering.

The CRF offers two purpose-built, dedicated research facilities in the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals where high-quality clinical research is conducted, with the capacity to care for participants on a day and overnight basis. The CRF recruits patients and healthy volunteers into clinical trials across a broad range of health conditions, with expertise in early-phase and complex studies including new treatments that are being tested for the first time in humans.

Together, our work helps to generate new treatments, find new and better ways to deliver clinical services, and improve patients’ lives. The valuable contributions made by patients and members of the public make these advances in healthcare possible.

This strategy was developed with input from all key stakeholders in both the BRC and CRF including all research theme leads and patient representatives.

Section 4. Abbreviations

Abbreviations used in this strategy are listed below:

BRC: Biomedical Research Centre

CRF: Clinical Research Facility

EDI: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

NIHR: National Institute for Health and Care Research

PPI: Patient and Public Involvement

PPIE: Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement

PPIEP: Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Participation

STH: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

UoS: University of Sheffield

Please note: This strategy has been produced alongside our joint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy which provides more detail on our plans for activities related to EDI.

Section 5. Strategic Objectives

1. Support high quality PPIE across the BRC and CRF

2. Increase research awareness

3. Embed PPIE training across the BRC and CRF

4. Collaborate with partners to develop the wider PPIE landscape

5. Governance

6. Promote quality and impact

Section 6. Milestones of the PPIE Strategy

Short-Term (Years 1 – 2)






Medium-Term (Years 2 – 3)




Long-Term (Years 3 – 5)




Section 7. Resources

The BRC and the CRF each have their own budget for PPIE for hosting, rewarding and paying expenses to public contributors. The BRC has funds to support the ongoing operation and set up of new patient panels in a number of areas where greater capacity for involvement is needed from the research themes. The BRC core non-pay budget will in part fund a call for innovative PPIE initiatives that fall outside the remit of the patient panels.

The BRC and CRF will both contribute to outreach activities such as research conversations and engagement events.

Table showing BRC and CRF non-pay budget and staff

Section 8. Partners and Collaborators

Patient Panels

Our local patient panels are integral to patient and public involvement in research across STH and UoS. There are currently 18 such panels that our joint Clinical Research and Innovation Office (CRIO) help to co-ordinate and list on their website. These panels are variably funded through grant awards, chaired and administered by staff working within either STH or UoS.

Table showing list of patient panels

We will support BRC and CRF interaction with these panels by:

Patient panels in action

Image of Stroke and Aphasia Research Interest Group meeting

Stroke and Aphasia Research Interest Group meeting at Graves Sports Centre

Patient panels in action

Image of Sheffield Multiple Sclerosis Research Advisory Group meeting

Sheffield Multiple Sclerosis Research Advisory Group meeting in the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN)

STH / UoS collaborative PPIE group

The PPIE leads from Sheffield NIHR infrastructures (the BRC, CRF, Clinical Research Network, Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-operative), and the Clinical Research and Innovation Office (CRIO) jointly funded by STH and UoS, meet regularly to work together on delivering joint events such as International Clinical Trials Day and NHS75 activities, co-ordinate on communications output for research results and national research awareness campaigns, share learning, and develop a unified approach to outreach and research visibility in the Trust.

National NIHR BRC and CRF PPIE Leads Networks

Meeting attendance will be maintained by the joint BRC/CRF PPIE Officer.

Northern BRC/CRF PPIE Leads

We aim to develop collaborative activities with the Northern BRC and CRFs in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, to promote research in a co-ordinated way in the North.

Section 9. Leadership and Lines of Reporting

The joint BRC and CRF PPIE Officer will lead on delivering the PPIE strategy. They will attend the monthly BRC theme and CRF operational meetings as well as the BRC and CRF quarterly Executive meetings and the Patient Executive group to join up the implementation of the PPIE strategy across our infrastructures.

Diagram showing PPIE infrastructure at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

The PPIE Officer will work closely with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion senior research fellows appointed within the BRC, in the development and implementation of an outreach programme to increase research awareness and engagement in underserved communities and to diversify PPIE to try to improve representativeness in involvement and research participation.

Additionally, they will work within our collaborating structures, maintaining a presence at the collaborative Sheffield Teaching Hospitals joint working PPIE group and maintain a presence at the National NIHR BRC and CRF PPIE Leads network meeting.

Academic PPIE Leads will also be appointed to BRC theme operational groups, reporting directly to theme leads on progress against PPIE objectives from within the themes.

Section 10. Monitoring, Review, Reporting and Capturing Impact

PPIE will be a standing item on both operational and executive meeting agendas to monitor and review progress against strategic objectives and refine the strategy going forward.

The PPIE Officer will be primarily responsible for collating information relating to PPIE. They will liaise with and help to co-ordinate some patient panels and will lead on outreach activities and research conversations in the community, keeping an impact log to see where initiatives are making a difference.

The BRC Academic PPIE Leads and CRF Operations Manager will also contribute towards writing impact cases and the annual report. The Patient Executive group will help to decide on cases to publish and how these are shared more widely.