Case study: Emma's story: why I love being a Research Champion
Find out about Emma's experience as a Research Champion in Lincolnshire
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research?
I’m Emma, from Lincolnshire. My research journey began with me participating in a study, and then I found out that my local NHS Trust (Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) is also very research active, so I wanted to get involved. It was suggested to me that one way I could continue to support research was by becoming a Research Champion, and I jumped at the chance!
What motivated you to become a Research Champion?
I wanted to do as much as possible to support research, and I was interested to find out more about how research is developed and the opportunities for patients and members of the public to help shape it. As a service user myself, the role provided me with a way to find out more about treatments and to see how healthcare is developed. I have also participated in a number of research studies myself, and being a Research Champion seemed like a great way to share my experiences so that research can be made as accessible and enjoyable as possible for participants.
What activities have you been involved with as a Research Champion and what difference do you think they make to others and to research?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was attending meetings and conferences, as well as continuing to take part in research studies. During the pandemic there has been a lot more online activity, but this has meant an opportunity to be involved in more online research and meetings. I’m hoping to soon be able to go to more places to meet and engage with members of the public to help spread the word about research, which was our hope before COVID-19 arrived.
How has being a Research Champion benefited you and how have you been supported?
It’s been a great way to build confidence and meet new people. Everyone has been very friendly and gone out of their way to include me wherever possible. I have been involved in things like giving online talks which have been really positive - if slightly nerve wracking! - but everyone is always supportive and keen to hear my perspective. I love being part of a team and the Research Champion role empowers me to make a difference.
Is there anything you would like to say about being a Research Champion, including to others considering volunteering in this role?
I would say that it’s a fantastic opportunity to be a part of something. You can help with important research and the development of future treatments. It’s also a great way to meet people and be part of a community working together to make research even better.