Expanding and Supporting PPI in Research

Dr Denyse Hodgson, PPI Faculty Lead; Karen Collins, Alex McClimens & Hora Soltani, Centre for Health & Social Care Research.
Sheffield Hallam University
Patient and Public Involvement


This initiative was to recognise the good practice in the university in relation to PPI in research. Research at SHU values collaboration with service users through individual links, local charities and partner organisations. Staff in the research centre have actively involved service users in research bids, proposals, research including service users and on occasions as co-applicants for funding. Sheffield PPI research panel works with the university to ensure effective PPI.

We have a strong PPI in our maternity research projects including:

  • Teenage Pregnancy and Nutrition
  • Postpartum Weight Management
  • Maternal obesity management evaluation
  • Maternal Obesity Management using Mobile Technology (MOMTech)
  • Breastfeeding promotion in women with BMI25
  • Walking in pregnancy study (PhD project)

An example of embedded PPI approach

Mentorship and Guidance from the CHSCR has supported wider research activity  throughout the faculty and their involvement in local projects has ensured PPI is evident:

  • Macmillan resilience project had PPI input into the bid and patient membership of project steering group with a long term view of linking to the survivorship agenda
  • S4All design study for breast cancer radiotherapy treatment (NIHR) has PPI in bid and data collection
  • PhD students involving service users in: autism, compassionate care and Parkinson's
  • SHU contribution to a national carer framework
  • A behaviour change intervention to promote nebuliser adherence in adults with cystic fibrosis as part of a NIHR Applied research programme grant called ACtiF: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/sections/hsr/mcru/actif
  • Users have been involved in the development of the intervention through: 
    • PPI group which has discussed and feedback on the concepts and design of the intervention (and the whole programme) which is being delivered through a website and app.  Due to the risk of cross-infection people with CF cannot meet face-to-face and therefore we have used a mixture of email interviews, skype and teleconferencing to facilitate this input.
    • The intervention has been developed iteratively as a result of the feedback from 27 users who have tried out the website and the way in which the interventionist interacts with users to deliver the intervention.
    • Feedback has been by telephone interview, direct feedback to the interventionist, and a smaller number of users have feedback while using the website using a think aloud method.
    • The design and contents of the intervention have been extensively revised in response to user feedback.

What are the Aims?

Sharing good practice and utilising expertise in PPI research.

Who was/is involved?

Sheffield Hallam University and local service users, Partners in Learning, Sheffield PPI panel.

What has changed/will change?

Sharing good practice and processes for PPI across the faculty ensures a more pro-active and speedy response for research bids. Appropriate support can be accessed readily and research funding bids meet the requirements of public engagement.

What lessons have we learnt?

The process of developing this project has emphasised the importance of organisational commitment to PPI and its value in all research undertaken by the faculty.

Contact details

Dr Denyse Hodgson, Faculty of Health & Well-being, Sheffield Hallam University
d.a.hodgson@shu.ac.uk 0114 225 5579

Links to further information and resources