Joining boards, committees and groups
Joining a commissioning board
Funding organisations often have a commissioning board who advise them on what area of research they should give money to. Commissioning boards generally have lay members (members of the public who aren’t experts in the subject the board focuses on). If you joined as a lay member you might have a say in the topics and individual projects the organisation funds.
Joining an ethics committee
Once funding has been approved for the project, it’ll be assessed by an ethics committee. The ethics committee makes sure that the research is safe and checks that the possible benefits of the research outweigh the possible risks.
Like funding organisations, ethics committees also have a number of lay members. Ethics committee members usually have this role for a set period.
Joining an advisory or steering group
Advisory or steering groups help to develop the research project and look after it while it’s running by providing support and advice. They also need lay members. Joining gives you some influence over what the project is and how it’s done.