Support for Researchers

If you are a researcher looking for help with patient involvement in your study, there are a number of services we offer which may help:

The Service User Advisory Group (SUAG) is open to researchers from the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and Dementia Unit (BRC/U) at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust only.

What is the BRC Service User Advisory Group?

The BRC/U Service User Advisory Group (SUAG) is a regular meeting of people with lived experience of mental illness, all of whom have an interest in mental health research. Researchers are invited to present their project/programmes to the group and get feedback.

How often does the SUAG meet?

The group meets once every two months on Wednesday afternoons at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN).

What sort of things does the SUAG review?

The SUAG is used to seeing research projects of all shapes and sizes, and at a variety of different stages. Most people tend to come to the SUAG before applying for funding, or before writing an ethics application in order to get advice on data collection procedures.

What is the remit of the SUAG?

The SUAG reviews any study which is linked (in some way) to the Maudsley BRC. We have made exceptions in the past, but we now have quite a lot of people wanting to present – so we have to prioritise BRC studies.

Why should I use the SUAG?

Using the SUAG can improve the rigour, quality and relevance of your research. It can also alert you to potential pitfalls which may hinder your project once it is underway (e.g., “I have developed a great intervention but no-one wants to use it!”). Most people who use the SUAG find it to be a rewarding, fun and interactive experience.

I am applying for funding and I need to put something about ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ – can you help?

The SUAG is an example of ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ (PPI), which is a requirement for most funding bodies. We will always recommend using the SUAG as part of a wider PPI strategy. It will not satisfy all of your PPI demands, but linking with the SUAG early can help you build relationships that are useful in developing your PPI strategy.

How do I contact the SUAG?

Coordinator: Dan Robotham
Email: dan.robotham@kcl.ac.uk

The Feasibility and Acceptability Support Team for Researchers (FAST-R) offers fast and easy access to people with experience of mental health problems and their carers who have been specially trained to advise on research proposals and documentation.

The FAST-R team can:

  • Offer expert advice about patient information sheets, consent forms and recruitment strategies
  • Help speed the regulatory approval process
  • Flag up potential stumbling blocks to ethics, R&D approval or adoption to Clinical Research Network portfolios
  • Give researchers enough time to make any necessary changes before the proposal is considered
  • Provide feedback to researchers within seven working days of an application being made.

Using the FAST-R service is free of charge. But feedback is invaluable. The team asks users to let them know the outcome of funding or ethics applications to help ensure the service is effective. We also appreciate it when our contribution is acknowledged in publications.

How to apply

Researchers can apply to use the FAST-R service as soon as they have a draft study protocol. They can apply at any time, the earlier the better. There is no limit to the number of times the service is used.  For more information about applying, please read our guide to using the FAST-R service.  All documents requiring feedback should be emailed to fast-r@kcl.ac.uk.

The first National Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group is now hosted by the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) and Maudsley BRC. The group consists of 16-25 year olds with personal experience of having used mental health services or caring for someone who has.

We meet every six to eight weeks on a Saturday in London and usually have two or three researchers attend each meeting.

If you are a researcher and would like to know more, please read our guide to accessing the Young People's Mental Health Advisory Group, which explains how to apply and how applications are processed.  The group have also produced guidelines for researchers visiting them.

To contact the Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group, email dan.robotham@kcl.ac.uk

IMPARTS is an initiative funded by King’s Health Partners (KHP) and the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and Dementia Unit (BRC/U). The overall goal of IMPARTS is to improve mental healthcare provision within medical settings across KHP.

The IMPARTS package for physical healthcare settings is designed to support clinical teams in providing timely, tailored, evidence-based care to patients presenting at King’s Health Partner’s acute trusts.

We have a major BioResource project underway, collecting biological samples such as blood and urine for molecular analysis and linkage with other study areas.

The BRC Clinical Trials Office is the central contact point for clinical research on psychosis and schizophrenia running both pharmacological and psychological trials.

The Consent for Contact (C4C) register allows patients at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to consent to be contacted by researchers if they are a potential match for research studies taking place within the Trust.

The Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group is open to researchers who are conducting data linkage projects using the Clinical Records Interactive Search (CRIS) system.

The group is a regular meeting of people with lived experience of mental illness, all of whom have an interest in mental health research involving data linkage. The group meets on a quarterly basis and researchers are invited to present their project and receive feedback and advice from the group.

The group are happy to review projects at a variety of stages- from identifying research priorities and preparing grant applications, right through to disseminating findings. Using the Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group can help to promote the service user perspective in your mental health data linkage study, as well as improving the quality and relevance of your project. The group is also an example of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI), which can improve the rigour, quality and relevance of your research.

If you would like more information about the Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group or are interested in presenting at one of our meetings please contact Amelia Jewell (amelia.jewell@slam.nhs.uk) or Megan Pritchard (megan.pritchard@kcl.ac.uk).

The NIHR Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia (BRU-D) service user and carer group, MALADY, provides invaluable experience-led insight and advice to our researchers in a range of ways, including identifying research priorities, meeting researchers to improve study design and delivery, providing advice and troubleshooting for research studies underway in the BRU-D, and advising on the best ways to communicate about our research.  For more information about the group, email BRU-D manager Samantha Sharp at Samantha.sharp@kcl.ac.uk.