PRP084: Evaluating Institutional Readiness for PPI Through Strategic and Reflective Practice: An Example from Ireland.

Vikram Niranjan, PhD; Jon Salsberg, PhD; Imelda Doolan; Anne MacFarlane, PhD, MA; Miriam McCarthy; Zoe Hughes, BA, MSW; Meghan Gilfoyle, MSc


Context: Public and patient involvement (PPI) in research refers to a wide range of ways of engaging members of the public with the design, conduct and dissemination of research. Effective PPI can enhance research and scholarship by broadening, exchanging, and testing knowledge and expertise. It can also enhance the quality and impact of research, acknowledging the symbiotic relationship between the public funding of research and scholarship and the societal benefits arising from it in terms of public culture, democratic citizenship and economic prosperity. Over the last decade, many universities across the world have explored how best to encourage PPI in research by fostering changes in institutional culture and practice.
Objective: To understand the operationalisation of existing policies, procedures and practices that support PPI embedded within University of Limerick (UL) and evaluate change over time.
Study design: Mixed method study – quantitative analysis to evaluate change in PPI readiness and in-depth qualitative analysis to understand barriers and facilitators of implementing change.
Setting: University of Limerick, Ireland
Population studied: Seven faculties/schools/units within UL.
Intervention/instrument: EDGE tool (public Iterative application of the EDGE evaluation to monitor longitudinally the trajectory of PPI readiness on a 4-point scale (Embryonic, Developing, Gripping, Embedded) across nine sub-dimensions.

Outcome measures: Baseline EDGE evaluation conducted in September 2019, reported each unit’s 1) current state, and 2) future target for PPI readiness. Mean self-assessed baseline state or readiness for PPI at UL is at ‘developing’, with some units having policies and procedures at ‘embryonic’ while some at ‘embedded’. The units indicated mean future target for PPI readiness would be ‘gripping’. Follow-up measurement in September 2020 will include in-depth qualitative interviews with each unit to understand the barriers and facilitators during this process of change in policy and practice.
Impact: Increase in awareness and readiness for public and patient involvement in health research within all academic and administrative policy across the University. Iterative application of the EDGE tool acts as an intervention, keeping PPI planning on each unit’s agenda. We provide ongoing support for this change through leadership, training and ongoing evaluation.
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Ray Haeme 11/14/2020

The concept of the EDGE tool, seems to be a novel and interesting way to qualitatively measure Public and Patient Involvement. From the graphs, it appears that 9 factors were evaluated on this EDGE scale. I have not been able to find a reference to what those 9 factors were?

Vikram Niranjan 11/21/2020

Hi Ray, Thank you for appreciation and a question. EDGE tool have divided the nine dimensions into three categories, each describing a critical area to think about: Purpose (Mission, leadership and communication), Processes (Recognition, support and learning) People (Staff, students and public). I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you need further explanation. Regards, Vikram

Marcia Dailey 11/15/2020

One barrier was listed for PPI. What are ( maybe two or three) barriers)?

Vikram Niranjan 11/21/2020

Hi Marcia, Thank you for your question. The other barriers were about support at departmental level for PPI in research as every staff may not be focusing research through PPI lenses, limited resources at few departmental levels for sustainable activities. I hope this is helpful. Regards, Vikram

Ken Dailey 11/18/2020

The EDGE tool is not clear on how it works on PPI research.

Vikram Niranjan 11/21/2020

Hi Ken, Thank you for your comment. The EDGE tool is designed to support discussion and dialogue within your institution and to help you begin to frame a strategy for supporting public engagement. It is primarily intended as a trigger for discussion and reflection. We utilised EDGE tool to assess the levels of public engagement within different departments/unit at the University of Limerick. While, it is mostly about public engagement, our discussions with the faculty respondent mainly focused on PPI concept. I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you further explanation. Regards, Vikram

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