Chapter 10: Taking priorities to research funders

The JLA process is designed to produce research priorities.  Once these have been agreed, the Steering Group should take responsibility for finding ways to disseminate them and identify potential opportunities for funded research.  At this stage, the JLA Adviser’s role is usually reduced, although they may be able to provide examples of dissemination activities from previous Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs). 

Top 10s vary in the way they are worded and presented.  They contain questions and topics that matter to patients, carers and clinicians, written in terms that a wide audience can understand.  However, they are not usually precisely worded research questions that research funders can immediately work with.  Further work will be required by the Steering Group after the Top 10 announcement, to identify potential research questions that meet a research funder’s requirements, from the research priorities.  Research funders have many competing priorities.  It is important for each PSP to plan for how to bring its priorities to the attention of the right funders and to think about what information funders will need to make their decision to fund the work as easy as possible. 

The JLA strongly encourages PSP leads and researchers to work collaboratively to develop research questions from the priorities and to work out what research methods are needed to address them and what any barriers might be.  The PSP Lead and the Steering Group have a unique insight into the priorities.  They understand the meaning of the priorities and the unmet needs of the patients and clinicians that have informed them.  It is therefore important that they help funders and researchers who have not been involved in the PSP to understand the priorities and be able to translate them into propositions for research.

Some PSPs have created a sub-group of the Steering Group to take the lead on this work and to work in collaboration with funders and researchers to create researchable questions, which address the topics raised by the PSP.  This should involve going back to the original survey submissions to identify the interventions and outcomes that patients, carers and clinicians highlighted as important aspects of the questions.

It is important to consider who has the right skills and experience to do this work of influencing researchers and funders and to think about how the community can continue to be involved in this. 

PSPs can help to promote their priorities to key people:

  • patients and carers and organisations which represent them
  • research funders
  • researchers
  • the wider research and policy community.

Examples of research funded as a result of PSPs can be seen in the Making a Difference section of the JLA website.