Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) is increasingly embedded within healthcare research. PPIE seeks to enable patients and members of the public to apply their priorities to the development and delivery of health services and improve the quality and relevance of research by drawing on the lived expertise of individuals affected by the health conditions that research aims to benefit. These activities are varied. They range from the identification of research priorities and questions, the appraisal of study design, visits to research facilities, to the dissemination of research results. ‘Lay people’ can become involved at multiple points within the research pipeline and are increasingly encountering basic and preclinical research further ‘upstream’. The movement of PPIE into basic and pre-clinical research raises new questions for practices of involvement and engagement, particularly, in emerging interfaces between PPIE and animal research.
We have been using qualitative research methods to trace the ways in which lay members and publics are encountering animals within biomedical research. We are seeking to understand how involvement and engagement activities can be organised in ways that are sensitive to the diverse experiences of lay members, researchers, and others involved, and open up authentic and meaningful conversations. This involves working with a range of different stakeholders: engaged and involved lay members, research funders and involvement professionals, and basic and translational researchers to progress conversations around PPIE with animal research. In this report we present our preliminary analysis and invite feedback around the themes, questions, and recommendations that have emerged since we commenced this work in autumn 2017.