100 JLA PSPs: Playing an important part of the research process

Published: 05 October 2020

James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) can play an important step in the research process, ensuring the right questions are asked as well as raising the profile of health conditions with the research and funding community.

Kim Thomas, Professor of Applied Dermatology Research & Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham explained:

“Having been involved in several PSPs over the years, including vitiligo, eczema, cellulitis, psoriasis and lichen sclerosus, I am a big fan of the JLA and the work that it does. To me, getting the right question is all important in research. If you have an important question that people would like to know the answer to, then everything else that follows will be worthwhile.”

Alexander Heazell led a JLA PSP in Stillbirth in 2015, noting the importance of the PSP in making a case for Stillbirth research:

“I think actually the whole process validated the topic, rather than just this is a relatively small number of people who have come together, otherwise it’s just me writing grants saying stillbirth is important. Actually, it was of sufficient importance that over 1,100 people completed a questionnaire to help and to tell us what the important questions were, I think it gives it more weight.”

One researcher involved in a PSP said [1]:

“it’s all about if I’m going to invest the next five to ten years of my life researching something, I want to feel that I’m researching something that somebody wants to know the answer to… It gives me massive confidence that, yes, enough people were thinking this is an important topic, so I’m prepared to focus in this way. And it’s a great way of building networks and contacts. After you’ve done a PSP, suddenly you’ve got hundreds of people who can help you on the journey moving forward.” 

JLA PSPs involve a rigorous process to identify and agree important priorities for research. If you’d like to make sure that the research you do is of real, practical importance to patients, carers and clinicians, you can see 100 Top 10s on the JLA website. The website also highlights the many different ways in which PSPs have made a difference to the research that is funded and the communities involved.  If you have questions for the JLA team, please email us on jla@southampton.ac.uk.

[1] From More than a Top 10: How James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships transform research, people and organisations


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