Becoming a Medical Research Council (MRC) Young Person’s Panel member By Walter, GOSH YPAG

By London YPAG,

What are the Medical research Council (MRC) doing?

They are setting up the Adolescent Health Study , a new longitudinal population study, which aims to enable a better understanding of the health and wellbeing of young people. In order to prepare for this study, the MRC has invited applications for funding to develop research methods for working with young people.

‘No research about me without me’

To do this properly the MRC were looking for a diverse group (across gender, age and ethnicity) of 10 young people aged 8-18 years with a range of experiences to help assess the applications. Myself and two other GOSH YPAG members were successful in applying to this opportunity. I was absolutely delighted to learn that my application was successful.

Why did I want to put my name forward?

I was extremely interested in becoming an MRC Young Person’s Panel member because I felt that this was an opportunity to contribute and the role offered me the opportunity to make mine and other  young voices heard on behalf of young service users who could benefit from user friendly approaches to research, participation, engagement and (treatment and service) improvements for users.

I also wanted to contribute to the very important work the organisation does in treatment and other innovations that can help to improve the health and quality of life for sick children and their families.

What did we all sign up for?

  1. Introductory session to the process on 17 December 2022

The experience has lived up to all expectations and been exciting!. The introductory zoom session, allowed me to meet other reviewers and academics from different parts of the country.It was exciting to meet other young people as well as professionals. The presentations gave me much insight into the work and process that led-up to the proposals that were presented.

  1. Young Person’s Panel meeting

I have reviewed very different applications, a process I have really enjoyed.

  • I read four complete applications (including protocols, case for funding, costings and so on) and gave written comments and a score for each application (using the guidance and specific criteria that I was sent).
  • As a part of the review process, we signed confidential agreements so that we do not share details of the studies, including our detailed assessments. However, my role entailed looking at the participation and involvement of young people in several aspects of the studies and not only initial consultation.
  1. Full assessment Panel meeting – One half-day, during the week in February 2023

Already I am looking forward to our session in the month of February where we will conclude much of the work.

Do you want to get involved in opportunities like this one?

I would recommend serving on similar panels to other YPAG members and young people with an interest in research. Serving on such panels can make a difference in the way research relevant to young people is conducted. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and would recommend this to other people interested in this type of opportunity.