Research buddies are consumers or community members who provide links between the researcher, other consumers and community members, organisations or the research funder.
They receive reports (usually annually or twice-yearly) on how the research is progressing and they feed this back to their community or to other consumers. They can also help with raising awareness and disseminating the results of research to consumers and community members.
Research buddies can:
- Be particularly helpful when the researcher is using linked data or working in a laboratory and does not have direct contact with consumers or community members
- Provide insight into unexpected or unexplained research findings
- Help with the dissemination of the research
Putting it into practice:
laboratory based cancer research
A laboratory researcher at the Institute doing melanoma research worked with two research buddies to develop grant applications and plain language summaries of his research. One buddy had experience as a consumer representative on a breast cancer project at the School. The other buddy is the founder of a community support group for melanoma patients. The researcher will meet with the buddies at least three times a year to discuss and provide reports on his research.
Cardiovascular Research Group
The Cardiovascular Research Group at the School worked with a research buddy to develop a strategy for increasing consumer and community involvement across the group. The success of this process has seen consumer and community members involved in a range of projects and activities. The 2013 Audit for Consumer and Community Involvement showed the Cardiovascular Group as being the most improved across the School.