Taking part in clinical research

You can help us with our research whether you are a patient, a carer or a member of the public.

Taking part in clinical research or study

Doctors and scientists who set up research projects usually approach individual patients who have specific conditions and ask them to take part. These people are carefully chosen because they fit certain criteria such as type of disease, medical history or age, gender.

The criteria may need to be very specific and can sometimes be quite narrow. This is necessary because clinical research measures changes that are very precise and has to be carefully controlled so research results are as clear and as informative as possible. So even though you may be interested in taking part in a trial or a well-designed study, if your details do not fit these narrow criteria you would not be eligible to take part.

Occasionally, researchers advertise for volunteers in the national press or through posters around the hospital and locally. If you want to volunteer for one of these studies, please get in touch with the doctors directly, using the contact details given in the advert.

Or search our database for active studies clinical research portal

Helping to shape research projects

We are committed to the Department of Health’s national strategy, which puts patients at the centre of all NHS activity. This strategy highlights the importance of involving patients, carers and the public at all stages of the research process to ensure that what benefits patients is not based on the views of research professionals and clinicians alone.

This is where you come in, because we are keen to hear and learn from you. You can become a patient or a lay adviser to research teams and get actively involved in their work, giving your advice on the different stages of investigation and related activities. This might involve:

  • helping professional researchers decide topics for new research
  • giving feedback on plans for how to carry out a new study
  • helping to write patient information leaflets
  • helping shape how study results are communicated at the end of a study.

Arrangements for getting involved vary across research teams:

  • If you are a patient, you might be approached by your doctor.
  • If you are a Member you may see and respond to an advert in the Gazette.
  • If you are visiting the hospital you may see posters around the hospital requesting research volunteers, either for a specific study or for a clinical area where there are several studies.

Finding out more…

Interested in finding out more? Visit the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)I AM Research” website to find out more about what it means to take part in research.