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Welcome to the Agora Digital Centre: the online centre for connecting people with research

The modern world has gone digital. A whole range of work and social activities can now be done online – talking to friends, banking, shopping, and work meetings to name a few. This is also true of the world of research and patient and public involvement. During the pandemic we had to move a range of activities such as meetings, data collection and presentations online.  

Rather than working with patients and public online being ‘second best’ to face-to-face working, our experience has been that online activities can often offer a more accessible, efficient and environmentally friendly way of engaging and involving people. This belief has driven us to create the Agora Digital Centre. This exciting new Centre will offer online solutions for patient and public participation, engagement and involvement throughout the health and social care research process. 

What will the Agora Digital Centre offer?

Based at the University of Southampton, we will provide online services that enable researchers, organisations and communities to connect for research purposes. The Centre will eventually have a number of services. Our key ones are:

  • A match-making service for finding patients and public members with whom researchers can connect
  • Online spaces for researchers and the public to discuss and co-create research, new knowledge and resources
  • An online course on patient and public involvement and engagement ‘Nothing about us without us: the what, why and how of patient and public involvement and engagement in research’

This interactive foundation course is the first offering of the Agora Digital Centre. Launching later this year, this course – designed with patients, public, researchers, and people in the pharmaceutical industry – will equip both patients and public on the one hand and researchers on the other with the necessary knowledge and skills to do patient and public involvement and engagement effectively. This course will not provide a set of instructions or rules, but instead offers a framework and guidance which will enable learners to plan and critique patient and public involvement and engagement in any given research scenario.

Do you want to find out more about patient and public involvement and engagement? 

In our new, upcoming course ‘Nothing about us without us,’ you can learn about what makes good patient and public involvement and engagement in health and social care research. Register your interest for the course via this form or follow us on social media to hear news about the course and its release.