National festival celebrates patient involvement in research

Photo - Edel Murphy, PPI Ignite Network National Programme Manager, Dr Ruth Mc Menamin, PPI Ignite Network at University of Galway co-lead, Dr Natalie Walsh, PPI Ignite Network at University of Galway co-lead, and Martha Killilea, PPI Ignite Network at University of Galway Programme Manager. Credit – Aengus McMahon.
Oct 10 2022 Posted: 10:29 IST

The PPI Ignite Network, involving seven Universities, brings together patient involvement in Irish healthcare research   

A nationwide programme of events has been launched at University of Galway to celebrate and encourage public and patient involvement (PPI) in research, bringing patients and researchers together to share and broaden knowledge. 

Taking place over almost two weeks from Monday October 10th, the events form the first National PPI Festival. 

The festival was launched by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, which is the co-ordinator of the festival and leads the PPI Ignite Network in partnership with six other universities. 

Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It is fitting that the new focus of public and patient involvement in research is being promoted so passionately by University of Galway and our counterparts across the sector. We place significant emphasis on work for the public good and an initiative of this nature is a powerful example of the role that it can play. It also speaks to the values of our University – respect; openness; excellence; sustainability and I wish everyone who is taking part every success as this new approach to research takes hold.”

The PPI Ignite Network is led by University of Galway, in partnership with Dublin City University, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick.

The National PPI Festival will become an annual event, celebrating the progress in public and patient involvement in Irish research in recent years and increasing the awareness and knowledge of PPI among the public and among researchers. 

The Festival will provide opportunities to reach people who are not currently involved in PPI and to share knowledge and experience from around the country. 

Events are being organised by PPI groups, research teams, charities and patient organisations, as well as by the PPI Ignite Network teams at each of the seven Universities involved.

Highlights include:

  • Training on involving children and young people in the research planning process
  • The launch of an online PPI training course for researchers at UCC
  • PPI in medical device development training in University of Galway
  • A PPI showcase at the Irish Cancer Society 

Professor Sean Dinneen, Professor of Diabetic Medicine, University of Galway and national lead for the PPI Ignite Network said: “There is a growing realisation that the people about whom research is conducted - the public and patients - should be involved throughout all phases of research, to improve the quality and relevancy of research. Called Public and Patient Involvement, there is a significant change happening across Ireland in how research is being planned and conducted and University of Galway is at the centre of this change.

“The face of research is changing rapidly in Ireland, researchers are now seeking out the public and patients to work as partners to design and conduct research that will have greater impact. 

“This first National PPI Festival is a celebration of the progress made in recent years, much of which has been funded by the HRB and Irish Research Council through the PPI Ignite Network, which we at University of Galway are honoured to lead. It is an exciting time.”

A highlight at University of Galway is the PPI Contributors’ Gathering, taking place on Saturday October 15, for people who are already actively involved with researchers and for members of the public, patients, carers or health and social care service users who would like to find out more about PPI in research. 

Those attending the Gathering will be able to listen and to learn, to share their own PPI experiences, and to discuss how to ensure that the involvement of the public and patient in research leads to better research that has greater impact.  

Claire Devlin, an active PPI contributor through Family Carers Ireland and part of the team planning the PPI Gathering, said: “I look upon this PPI Contributors’ Gathering as a reward for us - we work hard with researchers as PPI Contributors, we work hard in other parts of our lives, now we get a chance of a day out in Galway to meet other PPI Contributors and share our experiences.”

For more information on the National PPI Festival and each of the events, please visit:, or email

This work is funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, with co-funding from the seven universities at the centre of the PPI Ignite Network. 


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