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About Taking Part and Volunteering

Taking part in research

Better care and treatments are only possible through research.  This is why research and public involvement was included as a key point when the NHS was launched in 1948.  New treatments cannot be developed without involvement of patients and the public.  Thus both patients and healthy volunteers are very important in this process.

Choosing to get involved in research is an important personal decision.  Your decision to take part will depend upon your interests, your availability, your needs and your expectations about research

It is important to recognise that volunteers are needed for research from all ethnic backgrounds and cultures and from all aspects of society,  This is vital in helping researchers understand how all people might respond differently to treatments.

research volunteer

Consent to take part

Many people help research by taking part in research studies.  However, no person can be entered into a study without giving their consent.  The informed consent process makes sure that you volunteer of your own free will to take part in the research.  To give consent, you must understand what the research is about.  The risks, benefits and uncertainties to taking part and the safeguards in place.  You should always be made aware of the extent of your involvement.  You can talk about this with the researcher before you decide to take part and you can ask as many questions as you like.  It is sometimes possible to provide translators or advocates who can help you to make your decisions.  You do not have to stay in a study if you do not want to, even when you have given your consent to take part.

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Taking part in research is a personal decision.  The benefits you get will depend on why to decided to take part in the first place.

Ask about research

All aspects of our lives have a certain amount of risk and research is no exception.  Find out how that risk is managed


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The Citizen Scientist Project is supported and monitored by a public advisory group.  Found out more about what they do.