Why the JLA Lab?

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) initiative was established in 2004 to bring patients, carers and clinicians together in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) to identify and prioritise the Top 10 unanswered questions that they would like to see answered by research. 

JLA PSPs provide an important opportunity for the users of research to help shape the research agenda.   PSPs follow the method set out in the JLA Guidebook supported by a JLA Adviser.  All PSPs sign up to a set of underpinning principles, namely:

  • transparency of process, including a maintained audit trail from original submitted uncertainties, to final prioritised list
  • balanced inclusion of patient, carer and clinician experiences and perspectives
  • exclusion of non-clinician researchers from voting
  • exclusion of groups or organisations that have significant competing interests, for example pharmaceutical companies.

There are now over 160 completed JLA PSPs addressing a wide range of health conditions and settings.  The results of the PSPs have informed the allocation of research funding and helped raise awareness of priority research questions, with direct relevance and potential benefit to patients and the clinicians who treat them.

In recent years, the JLA has been asked about alternative ways to undertake priority setting (such as involving commercial businesses in funding or running PSPs).  In some cases, the JLA has aimed to adapt its method to support a particular set of circumstances.  In other cases, where a proposal does not fit within the JLA principles, we have been unable to explore an idea further, meaning that the relevant stakeholders have been unable to set priorities with JLA support.

The health and care research landscape continues to evolve and so the JLA also needs to develop and evolve in order to remain relevant and have the capacity to respond to the changing needs of our community.  In order to be able to respond to the needs and ideas of the community without affecting the integrity and principles of the existing JLA PSPs, we have developed a separate space called the JLA Lab where the JLA can innovate and explore new possibilities.