Identifying themes common to Top 10 research priorities published by JLA PSPs

Published: 02 November 2023

Analysing research priorities identified by JLA PSPs

To date, The James Lind Alliance (JLA) has supported over 150 Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs), across a broad spectrum of health and social care focuses, leading to Top 10 lists of research priorities. These priorities have been identified through the coming together of those with experience of health issues on the ground including patients and carers, as well as health and social care professionals.

The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre funded a research project to identify emerging themes or “overarching topics”, that span the Top 10 priorities published between 2016 and 2020 in the UK. The project was co-produced with patients and carers, health care professionals, public involvement specialists, health research funders, and academics.

In the initial stages of the research project, the UKCRC Health Research Classification System was used as a preliminary way of grouping the priorities. However, to ensure that lived experience shaped the development of the thematic classifications, patients, service users and carers who were formerly involved with PSPs were consulted for their perspectives on how to organise the priorities into meaningful categories. Ideas for themes also emerged through conversations with stakeholders such as the JLA Coordinating Team and national research funders with an interest in non-disease-specific health services, health systems and social science. The themes were then gathered and further refined to generate a final set of 89 overarching topics divided across 7 umbrella topics.

How can this research help researchers and funders?

If you are a researcher, funder, or public contributor with a broad interest in health and care, please take time to explore the overarching themes using the interactive tool (PDF download) developed by the project team. These themes could be used to inform decisions about which research topics to prioritise, providing a mechanism for understanding and incorporating the overarching priorities of people with lived experience and health or care professionals across a wide range of specialties. They could also help with identifying other disciplines or specialties with similar priorities, thus facilitating inter-disciplinary collaboration and greater research efficiency. Many priorities in the sample have not yet been individually addressed by the research community (reference to Madeline Tatum’s JLA blog) but the research findings provide a new opportunity to reconsider some of these priorities in tandem.

Health research is often conducted in siloes focusing on specific conditions or organs; we hope that you will be inspired to collaborate across these siloes to address common, holistic issues of importance to people with lived experience and those who care for them.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Dr Joanna Crocker (project lead), or the JLA Coordinating Team.

For further information on the overarching topics, to read the full project report or to look into the data underpinning this work, visit the Priorities for Health and Care Research webpage.

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