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A key aim of Fifth Sense is to promote research into smell and taste disorders and treatments. A medium to long-term objective is to directly support such research, which requires considerable effort to develop income streams to provide the necessary funding. In the shorter term, however, there are opportunities for Fifth Sense to influence and encourage relevant work funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and in doing so develop the expertise necessary to directly commission research when this becomes possible.

In broad terms, Fifth Sense members can participate as volunteers in research trials (see Current Research Projects) and/or be involved in the formulation and guidance of research and the effective implementation of its outcomes. You can become involved in research projects as PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) volunteers and through this can help to:

– Identify what research is important to the NHS and the public
– Influence the way research is planned and carried out
– Make sure that research is focused and relevant to patients and members of the public

You can get involved in research (as much or as little as you like) in a variety of ways, such as:

– Working with researchers to plan and design their projects
– Reviewing research applications prior to submission to the NIHIR research body
– Joining a research panel, project steering committee or advisory group
– Reviewing research results and proposals for their implementation into clinical practice
– Publicising research outcomes, through social media, etc.

Involving appropriate PPI members in shaping health and social research makes a difference by helping to identify new research topics and ensuring that they are relevant to patients and members of the public. By identifying PPI volunteers from within our membership with a range of clinical histories of smell and taste disorders and with appropriate skills in working with a research team (working well in groups, identifying key questions, etc.) Fifth Sense can greatly aid researchers in the formulation of relevant projects and their chances of being funded. By developing their PPI skills through such project work it is planned that some members eventually become involved in commissioning research, either directly through Fifth Sense-funded work or perhaps by becoming an NIHR PPI volunteer.

If you are are interested in becoming a Fifth Sense PPI member (UK-based members only) then please complete the volunteering form below and return via email to research@fifthsense.org.uk. We will then add you to the team of potential PPI representatives available and when a suitable volunteering opportunity becomes available we will contact you to provide details and ask whether you wish to take part.

PPI Volunteering Form (Word Document)

Other Opportunities

Fifth Sense are also supporting a range of researchers and academic institutions in finding volunteers interested in PPI. For more information, or if you are interested in any form of Ear Nose Throat (ENT), Hearing and Balance PPI opportunities, please contact Aneeka Degun (PPI lead) for University College London’s evidENT team:Aneeka.degun.10@ucl.ac.uk or call her on 0203 108 9329

Further Information

For more information on Public and Patient Involvement in Research then visit the websites below:

NIHR Website

INVOLVE – an organisation funded by the NIHR that supports public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.

People in Research – part of INVOLVE, People in Research posts a range of opportunities for PPI in research.

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