Case Study: WM life – Meaningful public participation and contribution

meet discussing graphs and statistics

What is WM Life?

WM Life is an umbrella term that encompasses all of HIWM’s outreach activities. Meaningful Public Participation and Contribution is a new initiative that keeps the ‘person’ at the heart of HIWM activities, answering the essential question – so what?

What were the aims of WM Life?

To create a way to incorporate views of patients, carers, users and members of the public to inform HIWM’s work

To allow for meaningful, two-way communication throughout the innovation process

To create co-development where all voices are heard, and every view carries equal weight.

What did we do?

When applicants apply to the SME Innovation Fund they are expected to have consulted with end-users of their innovation. However, there is no way to test the validity of their assumptions.

With the support of the WM Applied Research Collaboration (NIHR ARC WM), we issued an open call for members of a ‘Citizen Panel’ that would focus on the ‘so what?’ factor. A report was provided to the Investor Panel and public views were incorporated into the decision-making process.

What were the outcomes?

The Investor Panel agreed that contributions from citizens were insightful and informed their thought process, so it was agreed that citizen should join the Investor Panel going forward.

As a result, the application process has been changed so that candidates present to the CitizenPanel first, ahead of meeting the Investor Panel.

For more information, contact