As part of the COVID-19 outbreak response, the Patient Experience Research Centre (PERC) is carrying out a community involvement initiative to rapidly capture the opinions, experiences, preferences and unmet needs of communities in the UK during this outbreak, in an attempt to:

  • Guide COVID-19 research at Imperial College London across areas of (1) mathematical modelling, (2) health and biomedical research, (3) engineering and innovation, and (4) socio-behavioural research
  • Inform the UK’s response and communication more broadly
  • Highlight key unmet needs amongst diverse communities
  • Inspire new ways to rapidly engage and involve communities remotely during a public health emergency

Following some early online community involvement at the start of March (see Imperial College London COVID-19 Response Team Report 14), PERC are now looking to optimise and expand the process of community involvement in COVID-19 research and response planning, to ensure the voices, experiences and concerns of those who may be most affected by the outbreak are heard. This includes establishing a regular series of activity that enables rapid input from members of the public into key discussion topics that can be shared in the form of anonymous insight reports.

We have also extended our public involvement support, guidance and expertise to researchers actively working on COVID-19 research across Imperial College London, including those within the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analytics (GIDA) and WHO-collaborating J-IDEA (Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics).

Current Activity

We are establishing ways to enable members of the public to rapidly input and influence key discussion topics relevant to COVID-19 research at Imperial College London and the outbreak response more broadly. Outputs from these activities are summarised in the form of Insight Reports that we publish on this site and/or share directly with relevant researchers and policymakers.

Current Activity

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Conversations via Zoom

  • 20–60 members of the public
  • Topic introduction
  • Anonymous snap polls
  • Small group chats via 4–5 breakout rooms e.g. 8–12 per group
  • Co-hosted with a researcher
  • Share views, ask questions, immediate first-hand insight
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Insights via an online survey

  • Enables input from wider, more diverse audiences (300+ people)
  • Same conversation points presented as multiple choice questions and free text entry
  • Co-developed with researcher and inspired by prior conversations with the public
  • Time to reflect, ability to share, broad and diverse insight

Insight Reports


For all reports from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, please visit Imperial's MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analytics dedicated COVID-19 page. This includes our own report on the Public response to UK Government recommendations on COVID-19: Population Surevy 17-18 March 2020 [Report 10 (20 March 2020)].