The Health Research Board (HRB) involves public reviewers in the process of reviewing applications for funding to various HRB schemes. In 2019, public reviewers were invited to share their feedback on applications made to two post-doctoral fellowship award schemes operated by the HRB: 1) the Applying Research into Policy & Practice (ARPP) and 2) the Clinical Scientist Fellowship (CSF). For each application, two public reviewers are involved. Reviewers complete a short assessment report to share their views with the HRB. The report is then anonymised and shared with the research applicant who is encouraged to improve their research proposal based on the reviewer input. Reviewers give feedback on whether the proposal is understandable (plain English), whether the research is relevant to the public, whether the public and/or patients are involved in the research, and how the research findings are publicly disseminated. Public review reports are now also shared with the decision-making panel within the HRB who decides which research applications receive funding. Since 2014, the HRB has required that research applications specifically detail how and when they intend to involve the public and/or patients in their studies. An evaluation of the pilot public review approach was completed in 2017 https://www.hrb.ie/fileadmin/1._Non-plugin_related_files/RSF_files/Funding_schemes/Public_participation/Evaluation_of_HRB_public_review_pilot_-_summary_report.pdf.
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