As MRC PHRU researchers we engage and involve the public to increase understanding of our research, to improve how we do our research, and to build trust in scientists. Our engagement is guided by three purposes: to inform and inspire, to consult and listen to public views, and to collaborate with the public on particular projects.
Animation developed collaboratively between unit researchers, members of OxPop's public advisory panel and Morph Digital Studio
HELP ME STAY WELL
MRC PHRU facilitators told the story of statins, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease at Oxford’s IF Festival of Science and Ideas with a combination of four activities - ‘Help me Stay Well’.
The activities – two participatory games, an interactive poster and animation – increased people’s understanding about how statins can prevent cardiovascular disease. They also helped people understand more about the scientific methods used to find out if statins are safe and work.
In 2023 Help me Stay Well will engage more people in the work of the Vascular Overviews Group (VOG), part of the MRC Population Health Research Unit. VOG has carried out a series of studies, meta-analyses, to assess the effects of statins.
ASCEND PLUS is a new trial that will test whether taking a daily tablet of a drug called semaglutide could protect people living with type 2 diabetes from cardiovascular disease. Members of the public are part of an advisory group that has helped to shape how the study will be done. This includes advising around vital communications between the trial team and potential participants. The group will carry on throughout the trial.
MRC PHRU researchers can share their work with older children and those curious about science via a web platform EXPLORE SCIENCE developed when COVID-19 restrictions prevented in-person activities.
'The joy comes from seeing them at the beginning looking a bit lost, then they just get that light bulb moment and the enthusiasm runs away with them. Suddenly they are full of ideas about data.'
Heather Halls, Research Associate
Researchers created the Data Games to develop primary-school children’s knowledge of the world of data in a way they would understand and find fun. In four table-based activities set in a LEGO factory scenario, players compare different methods of moving LEGO bricks and building towers and create bar charts while learning the difference between qualitative and quantitative data, what meta-analysis is, and why it is useful.
MRC PHRU has also been involved in other events, including Fake News 2020 – a public panel discussion about the threat misinformation and lies pose to trust in science and people’s health. A similar event is planned for 2023.