A key objective of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s (The ASI) Research Strategy 2022 – 2024 is the continued development of its Person & Public Involvement (PPI) initiative, the Dementia Research Advisory Team (DRAT). In addition to delivering novel and authentic opportunities for research leadership for members of the DRAT, their research work must be underpinned by robust, strategic training. With the launch of The ASI’s Dementia Research Award earlier this year and the ongoing commitment to fully integrating PPI into all aspects of its research activities, it was evident that the members of the DRAT would play a vital role in assessing the Phase 1 applications.
Led by The ASI’s Research Team and with the support of Independent observer Dr Sarah Delaney with Health Research Charities Ireland, the DRAT recently took part in a Research Review workshop, where they learned the purpose of peer review, why it is necessary to declare conflicts of interest and the critical role public reviewers play in ensuring projects are relevant and important to people affected by dementia.
The members broke up into pre-assigned groups (each with a mix of people living with dementia and family caregivers) to apply their learnings to the review and scoring of the Phase 1 applications. Building the confidence and capacity of the DRAT members (and PPI contributors at large) through the development of transferable skills ensures their work as collaborators and co-researchers is meaningful in the first instance and also offers the individual opportunities to experience self-fulfilment and empowerment in their co-research engagements.