Screenshot of the VOICE homepage

Visit the VOICE online platform to find out more.

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

GETTING STARTED

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.

Step 1
Sign up as a member. Visit www.voice-global.org and click the red button in the top right corner to register for a free account.
N.B. The platform does not currently differentiate between members wanting to be involved in opportunities (typically members of the public), and members wanting to submit opportunities (typically researchers).

Step 2
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.

Step 3
Once you have a public engagement or involvement proposal that you would like to post on VOICE, you can submit an opportunity request online. Remember to select “VOICE at Imperial” from the drop-down list to ensure your submission goes to the right team:

Screenshot of tab on VOICE

You will then be asked to complete a short form about the opportunity you wish to post, such as the type of activity, dates and times, who can take part, what the aim is, and whether people will get anything in return.

Once submitted, your opportunity request will be sent to the VOICE at Imperial Lead (Philippa Pristera). If you would first like to discuss an idea, you can send a direct message to voice@imperial.ac.uk. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible (normally within two working days) to capture a few extra details about your proposal and support your idea going forwards.


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 voice@imperial.ac.uk

Alternatively, please contact the Data Protection Co-ordinator for your department or division.

2. Communication

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.

3. Promotion

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.

If VOICE members have signed up to receive a weekly newsletter, this will be sent on Friday afternoons. Your opportunity will likely appear in this newsletter if it is online only, is within the geographical remit of a member’s location or if they have selected to receive all new opportunities.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently asked questions

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 voice@imperial.ac.uk.

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 voice@imperial.ac.uk 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 voice@imperial.ac.uk. For general public involvement enquiries, please contact ppi@imperial.ac.uk.