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Public Involvement in Alcohol Research

In late 2016, Alcohol Research UK initiated a programme of work exploring public involvement in alcohol research. Over the following months, we ran a series of national events with service providers, research leaders, funding bodies, academics, and experts by experience to discuss how those affected by alcohol harms could better be involved in research design, delivery and dissemination (see Appendix for details).

This report reflects those experiences. It sets out our views on the particular challenges presented by public involvement in alcohol research, as well as our goals in supporting better involvement in future.

Public involvement is now a key element of health research. It is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through its INVOLVE project, and a number of medical research charities have recently published reports promoting better public involvement in their fields. Service user involvement (through, for instance, peer mentoring activities) is also increasingly central to the work of substance use services. However, the specific aims and challenges of public involvement in alcohol research have not previously been set out.

This report aims to meet that need. It is intended primarily for researchers working in this field; however, we hope it will also be useful for practitioners and services providers, especially in the discussion of how research involvement may aid recovery or improve services.