The UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research is recruiting

University College London (UCL) are advertising for a Project Coordinator to join the Centre for Co-production in Health Research team. They are looking for someone interested in co-production, co-creation and health research who is keen to learn more. The role can be part time or full time and will be for 4 months initially with a hope to make the role longer term.

The deadline for applications is 11pm on Wednesday 1 May. Have a look at the job description here.

To find out more about this role and how to apply have a read of their latest blog. You do not need experience of having worked in a university to apply.

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Patient and public involvement at the COMBACTE General Assembly 2019

By Michele Kok, Research Associate in Public Health, University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.

My research around patient and public involvement (PPI) is for COMBACTE, a European-funded private-public partnership between academia and the pharmaceutical industry. Each year, COMBACTE holds a General Assembly hosted in one of its European partner countries. This year it was held from 12-14 March in Bucharest, Romania. I love travelling and have never been to Romania, so was naturally very excited to be able to attend! In this blog post, I shall share my reflections on what I thought was a successful trip, and throw in a couple of pointers at the end for those planning to visit the city.

Some background

COMBACTE consists of four projects. PPI is part of COMBACTE-MAGNET (Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe – Molecules against Gram Negative Infections) Work Package 6i. One of our major outputs was a toolkit for involving patients and the public in antimicrobial medicines development research, which our team produced in collaboration with the Bristol-based PPI Panel for Antimicrobial Drugs between September 2016 and August 2018.

The COMBACTE General Assembly 2019 featured PPI in two sessions: a one-hour open workshop on Wednesday 13 March and a short talk in the specific COMBACTE-MAGNET General Assembly the following day.

Our workshop was well attended

‘Practical aspects of implementing PPI in antimicrobial medicines research’ was the title of our workshop aimed at promoting and supporting the use of the PPI toolkit. Participants were from various organisations and job roles, including principal investigators from industry and academia, and even the Chair of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice.

In the spirit of collaboration, we asked interested participants to identify which stage of the antimicrobial medicines development lifecycle was most important and relevant to their own research ahead of the workshop. Their selections helped us plan the topics to focus on; PPI in research agenda-setting and clinical trials. Participants were engaged and raised useful questions for discussion. There was a sense of increased awareness and interest in PPI within COMBACTE.

This was similarly reflected in the response to Andy’s talk the next morning, where several key people wanted to know how he thought PPI could be embedded in COMBACTE-NET, and what could be done to increase patient awareness of the importance of antimicrobial research, to encourage patient involvement. COMBACTE-NET is the network responsible for generating innovative trial designs to facilitate the registration of novel antibacterial agents.

Final thoughts and tips

After years of persistence and hard work, our team was very pleased with the success of this year’s workshop and the raised profile of PPI within COMBACTE. There is more to be done to ensure PPI is embedded in antimicrobial research and to promote best practice, but I left the General Assembly with a feeling of personal satisfaction (and relief) at the work done so far.

I had extended my stay in Bucharest and over the next few days, learned so much about the interesting history of the city and country. I highly recommend free walking tours in any European city you visit. Besides famous places, they take you to ones you would never have discovered on your own and give you insights that only a local could. If, like me, you enjoy trying local traditional food, I recommend papanaşi, a Romanian dessert of fried doughnuts served with sour cream and mixed berry jam!



Michele at Primӑverii Palace

Selfie by the swimming pool in Casa Ceausescu (or Primӑverii Palace) – notice the mosaic!

If I’m fortunate enough to attend next year’s COMBACTE General Assembly, I shall be sure to share my reflections when I return. For now, keep calm and keep doing PPI!

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Implementing patient and public involvement in antimicrobial medicines research

On 13 March 2019, Andy Gibson, Associate Professor Patient and Public Involvement, and Michele Kok, Research Associate in Public Health at the University of the West of England, together with two colleagues from North Bristol NHS Trust, conducted an open patient and public involvement (PPI) workshop at the annual Combatting Antibiotic Resistance in Europe (COMBACTE), General Assembly held in Bucharest, Romania. COMBACTE is a multi-million pound, European-wide, public-private partnership designed to stimulate the development of new antimicrobial drugs.

This workshop was to promote and support the use of a toolkit and practical guide for involving patients and the public in antimicrobial medicines development research, which the team produced in collaboration with the PPI Panel for Antimicrobial Drugs as part of COMBACTE-MAGNET’s Work Package 6i.

The hour-long workshop was attended by 12 participants from a range of organisations and job roles, including principal investigators from industry and academia, and the Chair of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice. The workshop focused on PPI in two specific stages of the antimicrobial medicines development lifecycle; research agenda-setting; and clinical trials. These were identified by participants ahead of the workshop as being topics most important and relevant to their own research.

The excellent attendance and engagement at the workshop were indicative of an increased awareness and interest in PPI within the COMBACTE consortium, and across Europe more generally. This was highly encouraging to the team and set the tone for Andy’s talk on PPI at the COMBACTE-MAGNET General Assembly the next morning.

Although the PPI toolkit focuses on antimicrobial medicines development research, its content is applicable to other areas of medicines development, and potentially to other areas of acute clinical research. To find out more about the toolkit or to arrange for a similar PPI workshop, please email or


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Sandra Tweddell is Diabetes UK volunteer spotlight

Sandra Tweddell, Co-chair of the People in Health West of England (PHWE) operational group, has been put under the spotlight for her extensive volunteer work for Diabetes UK.

Sandra has been volunteering with Diabetes UK since November 2010. Having lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1961 she is very conscious of varying levels of diabetes care across the country. As a result, she wanted to work to ensure that people with diabetes receive the best possible care to enable them to understand and manage their condition. Moving to Bristol, she found no local support groups so was instrumental in developing the structure of the Bristol Diabetes Support Network, which included a Strategy group involving members of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group and Bristol Community Health. This provided a forum for two-way communication of people’s experiences of diabetes care and developments in diabetes care.

We, too, have benefited from her tireless contributions, as Sandra has been a member of the PHWE Operational Group since 2016, and become the public contributor Co-Chair in November 2018.

Click here to read her full story on the Diabetes UK website.

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North Bristol NHS Trust are developing a device for rapid diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common and unpleasant problem affecting thousands of people. GPs and others in primary care often diagnose patients based on symptoms, as the current urine testing methods to look for bacteria and inflammation can be slow and unreliable. As a result, antibiotics are often prescribed before there is a confirmed diagnosis of UTI. This prescription of antibiotics can be harmful to the patient if there is no infection and also impacts the wider community due to increasing risk of antibiotic resistance.

North Bristol NHS Trust are developing a device that will test for UTI quickly, safely and reliably in GP surgeries to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment for patients. To support this, they are running workshops with patients and key staff members in GP surgeries to understand how it will fit within current working practices, who the user of the device might be, and what design restraints it needs to have (such as size storage etc.)

A series of workshops will take place over the next 18 months, these will cover:

  • Understanding the context for the device, the user and design restraints
  • Providing feedback on prototypes of the device
  • Urine sample collection methods
  • Training and education for the final product.

North Bristol NHS Trust would like to invite GP’s, Practice Nurses, practice receptionists, pharmacists and any member of primary care with experience of dealing with UTI’s in primary care to attend as many workshops as you are able to.

During the workshop, you will be asked to provide your views and opinions and some of your experiences.

  • The first workshop will take place : 5 April between 9.30am and 2pm
  • The second workshop will take place 10 May between 9.30am and 1.30pm

Both workshops will take place in The Board Room, Health Technology Hub, University of West Of England, Frenchay, BS34 8QZ. Lunch and refreshments will be provided

More information can be found at or please contact Angelo Micciche on 0117 4149334 or

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Consensus Statement on Public Involvement and Engagement with Data-Intensive Health Research

An international group of stakeholders with a range of expertise in public involvement and engagement (PI&E) relating to data-intensive health research have released a consensus statement in the International Journal of Population Data Science. It sets out eight key principles to establish a secure role for PI&E in and with the research community internationally and ensure best practice in its execution.

Their key premise is that the public should not be characterised as a problem to be overcome but a key part of the solution to establish socially beneficial data-intensive health research for all.

Click here to find out more.

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Learning for Involvement website

NIHR Involve has launched a single searchable site with details of training opportunities and learning resources. This website is dedicated to learning and development for public involvement in health and social care research: what’s it all about and how to do it well. It brings public involvement information and resources (such as guidance, websites, videos, articles and blogs) and training together in one place.

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Funding opportunity to strengthen links with Public Contributors

The West of England AHSN is inviting organisations from the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to submit proposals for funding between £500 and £10,000 to strengthen links with public contributors and encourage innovation using hyvr– the online social media platform for healthcare.

hyvr has been developed by the West of England AHSN as a platform where users can discuss innovations and health related issues with like-minded people in groups called ‘hives’. Ongoing dialogue on hyvr between the public and other collaborators will seek to accelerate the development of new and relevant healthcare initiatives including products, gadgets and new ways of working, as well as a forum for any health or care topic discussion.

Successful proposals will achieve four objectives:

  1. Benefit the applying organisation(s) in supporting a strategic aim(s).
  2. Provide sufficient numbers of users on the hyvr platform to determine its efficacy as a networking tool.
  3. Strengthen links with public contributors putting them at the heart of the innovation process.
  4. Support innovators to engage directly with public contributors.

Applications are open until 5pm on 21st February 2019. Full details including application guidance and schedule are available to download here.

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More Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Advisers for the South West Research Design Service

Welcome to Jo Welsman and Helen Burchmore, two recent appointments to the South West Research Design Service (RDS). Jo is based in the Bristol office and Helen in Exeter, and they cover the entire South West RDS region. Both Helen and Jo bring extensive PPI experience to their new roles having worked across many different organisations and with very diverse patient and public groups. They have led and supported PPI in research covering primary care to basic biosciences and everything in between. They can provide advice on where and how to involve patients, help you identify patient and public networks and groups to collaborate with, and access funding to enable collaborative PPI activities at the prefunding stage.

You can contact Jo or Helen at any stage of your proposal development, but they emphasise they can support you best if you contact them as early as possible in your application process. “We are also keen to hear from members of the public, or patient groups or networks who are interested in contributing to research design so please get in touch.”

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