PPI funding proposals: How to win over our judges

The hardest thing about submitting a grant application is often not knowing what the judges are looking for. So, with the call now open for this year’s NIHR Imperial BRC Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) grant scheme funding, but the deadline fast approaching, we thought we’d ask both past winners and members of the judging panel to share their thoughts and insights on what makes a winning patient and public involvement proposal…


Helen Ward – Director and co-founder of PERC

Member of the judging panel

“This small grant scheme is a great opportunity for our researchers to show their creativity. In previous rounds we were impressed with the range of new ideas, many of which are now showcased via our blog. We are always looking for proposals that will lead to meaningful conversations between scientists and lay partners, interactions that can help shape research and engage wider groups.  This year, we are particularly interested in ways to make public involvement and engagement more inclusive, so think about the groups that are often missed, and what steps might be taken to make an activity more accessible. We also value the use of different communication channels – face-to-face is good for some involvement and engagement, but other media may reach different people. I’m looking forward to reading the applications and working with our lay partners to score these and then invest in some great innovations!”


Harry Hall – NIHR Imperial BRC PPI Panel member

Member of the judging panel

 “Submissions should demonstrate a clear understanding of how the unique skills and experience of patients and members of the public will contribute to proposals.  We expect to see innovative methods for inclusion of all representative segments of our diverse community, including hard-to-reach ethnic groups and young adults, who are often absent from PPI opportunities.”


Maria Piggin – PERC Patient & Public Involvement Officer

Member of the judging panel

“The concept of Patient & Public Involvement has been around now for over 20 years, so I’m hoping to see some really innovative proposals that demonstrate how far we’ve come in this field, or ideas that may form the basis for more extensive work (and funding applications) in the future. Ideally the public will have been involved in drafting the PPI proposal for this submission and to reflect best practice, I’d like to see that teams have thought about what support and training they need to provide those they involve, as well as how much of the budget will be allocated to paying people for their time and contributions, or reimbursing expenses (in line with the recommended guidance).”


Nathan Green – Research Fellow

Winner of NIHR Imperial BRC PPI grant funding for LoL-Lab, 2016-2017

“I think what made our application successful was firstly the innovative angle we decided to take in co-creating with members of the public. I wanted to try something novel that was ambitious and exciting. We also had an emphasis on recruitment in the application; who, where and how would we do this. Especially looking back, I really appreciate the importance of putting plenty of focus on this, in order to reach our target communities.”


If you feel you need any more advice or guidance, please do visit our PPI Resource Hub, read our PPI case studies via this blog and make use of our downloadable Rough Guide to Public Involvement (pdf).

For more information about the grant scheme and to confirm eligibility, read the guidance document. And if you’re ready to apply, please email us your completed application form (ppi@imperial.ac.uk).

Due to requests from a number of applicants, the closing date for this round of applications has been extended to Monday 19th February, 5pm. But if you feel you still need more time to prepare and will miss this deadline, another round should be opening later this year.

For any informal enquiries, please contact Maria Piggin (m.piggin@imperial.ac.uk).


Good luck!

From the PERC team


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