The HPRU Modelling Methodology Public Panel meets 3 to 4 times per year in London. The Panel provides a public perspective on various research projects related to infectious disease prevention, mathematical modelling (predictions) of infectious diseases, and broader Public Health issues.
The Health Protection Research Unit in Modelling Methodology is a collaboration between Imperial College, London, Warwick University and Public Health England. Researchers in the unit primarily use mathematics to model (predict) the outcomes of infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), the flu or sexually transmitted diseases as well as outbreaks such as Ebola. This research includes taking account of human behaviour when people become sick and if,how and when they seek treatment. Treatment also includes preventative treatment such as vaccines including the flu jab. Using maths to ‘model’ diseases means decisions can be made about how many vaccines to buy, how many hospital beds will be needed, how many staff need to be employed in hospitals or what kind of tests to use (and the costs of all of these decisions).
Public involvement in these research projects is vitally important in order that researchers understand the priorities and relevance of their research to the public who will benefit from their research. The unit formed a Public Panel in October 2017 in order to provide public perspectives to researchers within the unit about their research projects and to advise on further public involvement which could be done in their projects.
The HPRU Modelling Methodology Public Panel meets 3 to 4 times per year in London. At these meetings, the Panel provides a public perspective on various research projects from across the unit ranging from the use of mobile phone data in tracking people’s movements in a disease outbreak situation to assisting to design questionnaires on why people decide to get the flu jab.
We are interested in expanding and diversifying the existing membership of our panel in order to better reflect the population across England. We are particularly interested in members of the public with no professional scientific experience who are between 18 and 40 years of age and from black, Asian and minority ethnics communities.
Although the panel meetings take place in London, membership of the Panel is open to those living outside London but within England. Travel expenses will be reimbursed (in accordance with NIHR INVOLVE guidance). No prior experience of providing public involvement support in research or of mathematics or modelling is required as we hope that the panel will consist of individuals with a variety of different levels of experience.
Depending on the training needs of members, quarterly panel meetings may include training on an aspect of infectious disease modelling or on aspects of public involvement. Members may also be invited to various training courses, conferences or research meetings held by the unit.
Following an introductory session for new members, the panel will meet quarterly until March 2020 (when the funding of the unit is currently due to end) (with a minimum of 4 panel members per meeting and a maximum of 6) in order to review and discuss research ideas and plans proposed by researchers from across the unit about how they could include public involvement within their projects. An example of this panel in action can be seen in this video. Panel members are paid for their time in accordance with NIHR INVOLVE guidance.
Prior to each panel meeting, members may be asked to review documentation relevant to the projects to be discussed at the panel meeting. This preparation time should not exceed one hour. During panel meetings, panel members will be asked to provide constructive feedback and/or advice on research proposals or on researchers’ plans . Panel members may be asked to provide comments on documents between meetings which is voluntary and will also be paid in accordance with NIHR INVOLVE guidance.
The dates for panel meetings are organised in collaboration with the panel members at least one month in advance of any meeting. Panel meetings will occur in central London (either the Imperial College London St Mary's Campus, or Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road) and will occur on dates/times convenient to the majority of the panel members.
Travel expenses, participation time, and any pre-panel meeting reading/work are all reimbursed in accordance with NIHR INVOLVE guidance.