A year in the life of a public partnership – working together to improve public communication of our research

Author: Katie Banister – University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom


  • Katie Gillies – University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • Members of HSRU Public Partners Group – Public Representative Group, United Kingdom
  • Craig Ramsay – University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Our department focusses on research to improve health services. By maximising public engagement, we aim for more meaningful involvement in our research and better communication. This visual presentation, developed with members of the public, will highlight the transforming effect of public involvement in a research unit and our learning points.

We set up an independent group of public representatives, local to Aberdeen, facilitated by a dedicated co-ordinator for public engagement (KB). Our group gives a public perspective across the activities of the Research Unit. We discuss, and work to improve, the accessibility of research proposals, information for the public, results from research studies and public engagement events.

We work as a group, with meetings through the year, supplemented by email consultations. We value the face-to-face meetings, being part of a team and the insight of visiting the department to see researchers in their working environment. A bonus of the meeting format is the sharing of ideas and perspectives which is harder to facilitate by individual emails. Regular opportunities for feedback and evaluation contribute to a cycle of ongoing improvement in our communication.

Our visual presentation will focus on how we work and evaluate our collaboration with the public. It will be supplemented by a poster highlighting our lessons learned and impacts. Our group are extremely positive about the group dynamic and the research they contribute to. They have worked as a team to improve the accessibility of information for the public and feel they too have become advocates for ‘good research’. Within the research unit this has enhanced the way we engage with the public and provided opportunities to improve public understanding of research.

By linking involvement and engagement, we promote mutual sharing of ideas to improve the way we involve and communicate with the public about our research.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual presentation
Theme: Transformation