Why research needs you
In 2018/2019 over 1 million people took part in research.
This public participation, from people just like you, has helped provide valuable knowledge to help people live healthier and better lives now and in the future.
This research helps improve health and social care provided by the NHS and others. It also helps advance medicine to find new cures and better treatments for future generations. This treatment could be medicine, a vaccine, surgery, radiotherapy, physical and psychological therapies and methods of diagnosing disease.
Why research is important
Every minute in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a disease or a condition. The treatment and support they will receive will, at some point, have been informed by research. Whether it’s testing a new medicine, a new surgery procedure or scan, or trying healthier lifestyle choices to prevent disease, everyone has an important role to play – if they want to.
In this short video, Professor Allan Gaw explains why medical research is so important when it comes to making good healthcare decisions. Read video transcript.
Why should I get involved?
Our annual Patient Research Experience Survey discovered 87% of patients who took part in research had a positive experience and 83% would be happy to take part in another study. You might want to get involved in research to:
- learn more about a condition that affects you
- make a difference, by helping to improve treatments and quality of life, now and for future generations
- support medical research for a particular condition or disease that you care about
- access new treatments
- take an active role in your own care.
Anyone can take part in research - providing you’re over the age of 18. You might or might not have a diagnosis or you might care for someone who wants to take part and wants some more information. You can find this information when you click on ‘full study details’ on every study on this site. Before enrolling in a study, the research team will go through these criteria with you.
All trials have guidelines about who can take part. These are called eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria are used to ensure that trials include the sort of people who may benefits from the treatment and to make sure that people who take part are not exposed to avoidable risks.
There are many different ways to take part in research depending on your interests, confidence and availability.
Questionnaires or focus groups
The videos provided on this page are produced by the University of Leeds. They form part of a 4 week online course called Improving healthcare through clinical research. Access to the course is provided free of charge, open to anyone interested in what research is all about, and delivered online so you can complete it at your own pace.
Do I need to travel to a hospital to take part in research?
Research can happen in lots of places: at an NHS hospital or health centre, at a university or research institute, in a care home, or in some cases, in your own home. What the study involves will often determine where it will take place. For more on the practicalities, read our section on how to take part in a study.