Now in its 5th year, the University of Limerick’s annual Public & Patient Involvement Summer School went online! This two-day event took place on June 25th-26th in collaboration with the Health Research Institute and the School of Medicine’s PPI Research Unit, and was sponsored in part by the Health Research Board.
This year’s PPI Summer School brought together over 230 participants from across Ireland and the UK to learn, explore and share their knowledge and experience in involving patients and other members of the public in health research.
According to the programme chair Dr Jon Salsberg (School of Medicine/HRI), this was the summer school’s biggest turnout ever. “We knew people would come, but we didn’t know how engaging and interactive it would be. In the end, the experience was really rich and even more collaborative than we had hoped.”
The summer school offered pre-recorded webinars and live workshop sessions on a wide array of topics, including: finding research partners, ethical issues in PPI research, undertaking PPI in PhD research, using arts-based methods; as well as two separate sessions on patient perspectives on involvement, a workshop by the HRB on how to craft the PPI section of your research grant, and a closing plenary panel discussion among national leaders on the importance of PPI during Covid-19.
Summer school sessions were developed and delivered by a wide array of collaborators from UL and beyond, including researchers, patients, funders, students, health professionals, and national PPI leaders.
“All the live sessions were really well attended and included a brilliant amount of interaction in the online discussion forums,” said Salsberg. “And gratifyingly, the online platform held up and did its job beautifully. “ The only thing missing, according to Salsberg, was the face-to-face personal touch and opportunity for social interaction. “We actually did have a surprising amount of that in the discussion forums. But nothing compares to the real thing.”
The PPI Summer School hopes to return to its regular face-to-face format for 2021.