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Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

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Join ARU’s Panel of Public Collaborators

ARU's Let's Shape Research Together programme enables members of the public to collaborate with academics at the early stages of research design.

Sign up to join the ARU Panel of Public Collaborators

The programme was launched in 2023 to facilitate Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) in research, which is conducted ‘with’ or ‘by’ service users, rather than ‘to’, ‘about’, or ‘for’ them.

While 'taking part' in research often means participating in trial or study at a relatively late stage, as someone 'engaged' in research, you'll collaborate with academics at the design phase of the research project, helping to determine what research is looked to, how it could be carried out, and how the results are shared and applied in your community.

Find out more about PPIE on the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) website.

What is the ARU Panel of Public Collaborators?

The ARU Panel of Public Collaborators includes members of the public volunteering their time and lived experiences to make a difference in ARU's research. Areas of research include, but are not limited to: health, humanities and social science; science and engineering; and business. 

What does being a Public Collaborator involve?

Ming Hung Hsu and Jodie Bloska from CIMTR have a conversation while another member of staff looks on in the background

You'll initially be invited to get involved in the planning and design stage of the research grant application, helping to ensure that academics consider the views of the community and create meaningful research that makes a positive impact on society.

If you express an interest to the PPIE Manager at this stage, you may have the opportunity to get involved with the research itself if the grant application is successful.

For some projects, your role will be to review research documents (Route 1), while others offer the opportunity to both review research documents and take part in a focus group (Route 2). Your feedback and ideas will be used to strengthen researchers’ grant applications.

An older man sitting on a sofa, using a laptop

As a Public Collaborator, you’ll have the opportunity to:

Further details on these Routes are highlighted in the induction pack.

Length of appointment

ARU Public Collaborator Membership will be automatically renewed with each academic year. You may withdraw at any time.

Time commitment

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As a Public Collaborator, you can decide how many research grant applications throughout the year you would like to be involved in.

We encourage Public Collaborators to engage as many times as they wish based on their time availability.

We will expect you to meet the deadlines and provide feedback if you express an interest to be involved. However, we want to highlight that there are no penalties if you do not wish to participate..

Make a real difference that's recognised

A woman looking at a research poster at a conference
  • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, e.g. travel expenses for focus groups at ARU, as appropriate.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with academics on research projects once funded and, optionally, receive payments for your time, contribution, and involvement.
  • Annual in-person conference to meet ARU academics and learn about their research.

Join an active, supportive network

Small groups standing and talking at a buffet, with research poster presentations
  • New opportunities to get involved in research projects every fortnight.
  • Induction session and induction pack equipping you with all the tools you need to get started.
  • Ongoing support from the ARU PPIE team to help you make the most of your involvement.
  • Monthly virtual ‘keep in touch’ (KIT) sessions with the ARU PPIE team and other Public Collaborators.
  • Quarterly in-person ‘keep in touch’ (KIT) sessions with the ARU PPIE team and other Public Collaborators.

Build your skills, experience and connections

View of people sitting listening in a lecture theatre
  • Opportunities to connect with other Public Collaborators who share your interest in making positive change.
  • Opportunities to network with ARU academics and expand your professional horizons.

Join the ARU Panel of Public Collaborators

To express your interest in joining us as a Public Collaborator, complete our online sign up form.

We'll then get in touch with a more detailed application for you to complete.

From there, you’ll receive an induction pack and be invited to an induction session, online or in-person. Once you’ve attended your induction session, you’ll be ready to go!

If you have any questions, email us at [email protected]

Get involved as an organisation

Are you a charity, start-up, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, or business interested in contributing to, and collaborating with ARU on ground-breaking research?

To find out more about research at ARU and have the opportunity to collaborate with ARU academics on research funding applications, complete our expression of interest form for organisations and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible to discuss your involvement.

Why join ARU’s ‘Let’s Shape Research Together’ programme as an organisation?

ARU's examples of best practice

In March 2023, 10 projects across all four ARU faculties were funded as a part of the Participatory Research Funding internal scheme for an overall sum of £56,750.19 to support Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement.

Find out more about some of the research we’ve co-produced with service users so far: