VOICE at Imperial
ABOUT VOICE AT IMPERIAL
In January 2019, Imperial became part of the VOICE network, an online platform and community for public engagement and involvement established at Newcastle University. Through VOICE, we hope to make it easier for our researchers to involve the public in what they do, and to inspire more members of the public to contribute their insights, experience and ideas at all stages of our research.
By extending our involvement activity to an online platform, we hope to enable both clinical and non-clinical researchers to:
- Access a large and diverse community, quickly and easily
- Use flexible methods of involvement, from polls and surveys to discussion forums and public panels
- Gain insight from the general public, as well as patients and carers with specific lived experience
- Strengthen the relevance and impact of our healthcare and translational research
This page provides guidance for Imperial students and staff wishing to use the VOICE platform to post opportunities for public engagement and involvement relevant to their work.
Sign up as a member. Visit www.voice-global.org and click the 'Get Started' button in the top right corner to register for a free account.
Explore the VOICE platform to understand its functionality and the different ways it can be used to engage and involve the public. You can review all the upcoming and past opportunities on VOICE to see what others have done before, but we are also open to trialling novel ideas.
Here are the different categories of opportunities available for you to post.
Competitions are a great way to inspire engagement in a project and get you to think creatively about how people can share their ideas & experiences.
Involve the public as non-professional scientists to co-manage data collection, analysis, or reporting.
Also known as Peer Research, members of the public are trained to take an active role in research projects, often bringing unique or specific insight.
Discussion or Debate
These enable a wider audience to provide in-depth perspectives on important and potentially contentious aspects of research, online and face-to-face.
An opportunity for public members to learn, interact and socialise with researchers, with the possibility of informing the event content or agenda.
An opportunity for an online audience to learn from and participate in events that you organise.
A chance for members of the public to share their insights in an informal setting, one-to-one with a researcher.
Polls can be added to any opportunity, acting as a quick way to survey public opinion and enable members to shape upcoming research and activities.
Recruit lay representatives to provide a public or patient perspective on your project based on their general or specific life experience.
An opportunity to gather more diverse public perspectives through an online survey.
A facilitated workshop or focus group to discuss a topic and gather public perspectives, usually conducted in a group setting.
Once you have created a free VOICE account, you can create your opportunity by going to your dashboard and selecting the appropriate opportunity type.
This will then be reviewed by your public involvement lead (if they are on VOICE) or by a member of the Patient Experience Research Centre before being made live.
We aim to publish opportunities within four working days of the request. Sometimes this can be quicker for Events where content already exists such as on an Eventbrite listing. However it can also take longer if additional information, planning and/or preparation is required before putting it live. Where opportunities are tied to a fixed date, such as an event, we recommend that they are posted at least 4 weeks prior to the deadline and VOICE will not allow the posting of opportunities less than 2 weeks away. This is to ensure VOICE members have sufficient time to plan their attendence or involvement where necessary.
For general public involvement enquiries, please contact email@example.com and/or your centre's Public Involvement Lead Contact.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN USING VOICE
Your responsibilities when using VOICE
1. Data handling
When you involve patients or members of the public through VOICE, you may need to collect, store and use personal data about them, such as their name, date of birth, email or home address and bank account details (in order to pay them for their involvement). Any information about an individual from which that person can be identified is defined as “Personal Data”. There may also be instances where you collect, store and use more sensitive types of personal data, such as information about their health, medical condition or sexual orientation. Data such as this must be handled in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and Imperial College’s data protection policy.
You must therefore be confident that you understand your data handling responsibilities when using the VOICE online platform and are equipped to carry them out appropriately. Please read our ‘Imperial College Privacy Notice for Public Involvement and Engagement’, which outlines to the public how we handle their data. If you wish to discuss this further, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, please contact the Data Protection Co-ordinator for your department or division.
In many cases, contact with VOICE members can be managed via the VOICE platform with the VOICE at Imperial Lead as a mediator of messages as needed.
Where your opportunity requires you to communicate directly by email with people recruited via VOICE, we ask that you maintain prompt, polite and clear communication. Members should be kept informed about the progress of their involvement and have clarity about the next steps. Ideally you should respond immediately to member queries, or within one working day at the latest.
You should also think about how you can promote your VOICE opportunity through both digital and traditional channels once it’s live, such as via Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, email, posters etc. While the PERC team can advise and support this to some extent through our own channels, the opportunity and its advertisement is your responsibility. A poster template is available on request.
If VOICE members have signed up to receive a weekly newsletter, this will be sent on Thursday afternoons. Your opportunity will appear in this newsletter if it is online only, is within the geographical remit selected by VOICE members or if they have selected to receive all new opportunities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently asked questions
Who's my Public Involvement Lead Contact?
|Research Group or Centre||Name of Contact||Email of Contact||VOICE Administrator|
|Patient Experience Research Centre (PERC)
||Halle Johnson, Public Involvement Officer (PERC)
||email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
||Yes - if your work relates to this centre, please send VOICE Opportunity Requests to email@example.com, which is managed by Halle|
|Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (Imperial BRC)||Maria Piggin, Partnerships & Training Manager (PERC)||firstname.lastname@example.org
|Yes - but please send VOICE Opportunity Requests to email@example.com, which is managed by Halle|
|Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU)
||Marie Miller, Patient & Public Involvement Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org
||Yes - if your work relates to this unit, please send VOICE Opportunity Requests directly to Marie|
|Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI)
||Anna Lawrence-Jones Patient & Public Involvement Manageremail@example.com
||Yes - if your work relates to this centre, please send VOICE Opportunity Requests directly to Anna|
|Imperial Cancer Research UK (Imperial CRUK)
||Kelly Gleason, CRUK Lead Nurse/Nurse Consultantfirstname.lastname@example.org
||No - if your work relates to this centre, please send VOICE Opportunity Requests to email@example.com|
|Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU), National Heart & Lung Institute||Samual Evetts, Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) Managerfirstname.lastname@example.org
||No - if your work relates to this centre, please send VOICE Opportunity Requests to email@example.com|
|If your research group or centre is not listed, please contact PERC (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further guidance and/or email VOICE Opportunity Requests and ideas to email@example.com.|
How long does it take to post an opportunity?
It varies depending on the type of opportunity and level of public involvement, and planning, required. We aim to publish opportunities within four working days of the request. Sometimes this can be quicker for Events where content already exists such as on an Eventbrite listing. However it can also take longer if additional information, planning and/or preparation is required before putting it live.
We ask that you respond to requests for additional information promptly in order to be considerate of the teams' time who are supporting your engagement work and to avoid unnecessary delays. Where opportunities are tied to a fixed date, such as an event, we recommend that they are posted at least 4 weeks prior to the deadline. This gives people sufficient time to plan their attendence or involvement where necessary.
The best advice is don't leave it to the last minute.
Is there any 'VOICE training' I can do?
We are hoping to establish a short training session for staff and researchers wishing to use VOICE to facilitate and promote their own engagement and involvement activity. If you would be interested in attending this in order to get more guidance on using the platform, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERC also run more general public involvement training sessions, in collaboration with the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU), which are co-delivered with a member of the public. For more details, please visit our PPI Training page.
What can I use VOICE for?
A primary use of VOICE is to facilitate a wide range of public involvement in research. We hope the platform enables researchers to reach wider, more diverse audiences that are both general and condition-specific and allow these lived experiences and perspectives to improve the translatability of research at all stages of the research cycle. But more traditional public engagement events can also be posted on VOICE. We understand these are a great way for public members to learn more about our research and may lead to more involved activity in the future.
What can I not use VOICE for?
VOICE is typically not to be used to recruit participants for a research study (where members act as subjects of research); however, some allowances can be made where participation would purely be advisory or qualitative in nature. If you are unsure whether your project would qualify, please contact email@example.com to discuss your specific circumstances.
Who can use VOICE at Imperial?
Imperial’s use of the VOICE online platform is only permitted for activities that are established, run and managed by Imperial College London, either solely or in collaboration with an external party. This means it is available for use by staff and students from Imperial College London undertaking active research here, but in some instances can also be used when a project is undertaken in partnership with external parties, providing Imperial College London are the lead stakeholders managing it.
Do you have a question that’s not been answered here? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org. For general public involvement enquiries, please contact email@example.com.