How do HDR UK decide who wins the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Award?

Jan Speechley is a member of our Public Advisory Board and it has been a pleasure to have her chairing our Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Award Panel meetings. In this blog, she reflects on her experiences

“The PPIE Award panel proess, from creating the panel to deciding on the winner, was itself an amazing example of great PPIE in action working together and embracing PEDRI Best Practice Standards, UK Standards for Public Involvement, and HDR UK TORCH principles. The winners of the award were chosen by those involved and committed to delivering and being a part of great PPIE in health research.”

– Jan Speechley, PPIE Award Chair and member of HDR UK’s Public Advisory Board

The Award

The HDR UK PPIE Award (in its second year) recognises PPIE work within health research which aligns with the following:

The PPIE Award celebrates best practice and innovation in PPIE across all aspects of health data research, infrastructure and service development within HDR UK and beyond, which clearly demonstrates the importance of PPIE as an integral and strategic part of the overall process.

Jan Speechley presenting the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Award at the HDR UK Conference.

The Award panel

This year, the PPIE Team at HDR UK brought together a group of 8 people. They were members of the HDR UK Public Advisory Board, an external public contributor, PPIE professionals from HDR UK partners, and independent and international practitioners. Their diverse backgrounds helped provide different perspectives and opinions in our decision-making.

These PPIE projects were reviewed, scored, and ranked by those working and contributing to PPIE in the UK and globally. I was a member of the panel and was also asked to be the Chair. As a strong advocate for PPIE in health research I was thrilled to have this opportunity.

The role of Chair

As Chair, I had additional meetings with HDR UK staff to plan the agendas and was fully supported in this role. My role was made easier because the panel had a shared goal of wanting to champion and reward great PPIE work.

How it began

We began back in August with two meetings to discuss and agree any changes to the application form and the scoring procedures from the previous year. Lively and constructive debate highlighted the commitment and enthusiasm the panel would give throughout the process. A clear timeline was agreed so that we knew exactly what we were doing and had clear deadlines.

Planning the application form and scoring system

We created a safe and respectful environment where everyone had time to contribute and share their views and opinions. The panel agreed on word counts, wording of questions, and the scoring criteria. Changes were suggested from previous scoring, resulting in a clearer, more granular scoring system. A second meeting presented us with the amended documents for approval.

The wait for the applications to arrive

The nomination and application submission process took around two months. 21 applications were received.

We all anticipated the applications with great excitement. We are all involved in PPIE in different ways with different organisations and countries and are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring the public into health research.

Applications circulated to the panel

It was agreed that, after declaring any conflicts of interest, two different members of the panel would review each application and score them. No member of the panel reviewed, discussed or ranked a project in which they were involved. At the end of November 2023, the applications were shared with the panel for scoring to begin.

Reviewing the applications

We completed this process between – November 2023 and January 2024. Our scores were collated into a table by HDR UK staff in preparation for our Decision Meeting.

Personally, I really enjoyed reviewing the applications. They were innovative, diverse, and covered many different areas of PPIE. The standard of the applications I reviewed was very high and I was eager to see if the rest of the panel had a similar experience.

The Decision Meeting: Choosing the top three

The standard was high! Choosing our top three was a difficult decision. We really took our time, debated, and looked at all aspects of our top-scoring applicants’ PPIE plans..

We eventually decided our top three. We all agreed to read these applications again and rank them individually in first, second and third place.

We came back together and our individual rankings were shared. We had a clear winner, second and third place. It was agreed that I would present the award to the winning team.

This is my second year on the judging panel and I’m always impressed by the high calibre of the applications.

In this sector, we hear a lot of warm words about the importance of good quality PPIE, but these applicants are really putting those principles into practice.

Kudos to HDR UK for celebrating these initiatives, congratulations to all those shortlisted and – if you are working to incorporate public/patient/participant voices in your own research – do think about what your winning entry could show us next year!”

– Jillian Hastings Ward, Chair of Participant Panel at Genomics England

Feedback and announcement to applicants

The feedback given to applicants was based on our comments and we were able to review it and amend it before it was shared with them.

Shortlist of top three

Shortly after feedback was shared with the top three nominees, the shortlist was published and the applicants invited to the HDR UK Conference in Leeds on 5 March 2024.

And the Winner Is ………….  Understanding Patient Data

The agreed feedback for the winner was:

The panel would like to applaud you for your innovative and strong application. The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion of your work, which created Easy Read materials was exemplary and had a strong consultative process with people who have learning, sensory, or physical disabilities, and the autistic community.”

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Award winners, Understanding Patient Data, at the HDR UK Conference. Emma Morgan (left) and Barbara Czyznikowska (right).


With awards there is always a thank you speech and here is mine…..

I’d like to thank HDR UK for ensuring their PPIE award is chosen by those who work and contribute to PPIE and for their support throughout our journey to choosing a winner.

I’d also like to thank all the panel for their dedication and commitment to this process and their continued amazing contribution to great PPIE.

The panel was:

  • Jan Speechley, Public Advisory Board (Chair)
  • Alan Holcroft, Public Advisory Board
  • Sonia Patton, Public Advisory Board
  • Jillian Hastings Ward, Chair, Participant Panel at Genomics England
  • Barbara Molony-Oates, Health Research Authority (HRA)
  • Steven Blackburn, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham
  • Dorcas Kamuya, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
  • Sian Aggett, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)
Skip to content