How does the Program work?
Once consumers have registered and confirmed their participation in the Program, they will have the opportunity to select one (or more) research projects that are available on our Research Project page. Depending on their time commitments and the construction of each research project advertised, we can provide four levels of engagement that allows them to provide feedback on certain elements of the project, all the way to providing strategic advice on project direction.
Participants interested in the Consumer Engagement Program will be taken through the process of partnering with a Research Lead using the following steps:
A) Depending on a participants’ time commitment, a consumer can choose their Tier level which will come with set responsibilities. All consumers will begin at Tier 1 by default. Compensation for time and reimbursement for travel expenses will be provided for any face-to-face meetings for consumers in Tier 3 and 4.
B) Interested participants will be able to review the projects available on the OPUS website at the Research Project page. Certain projects may request consumers at a certain Tier level and this will be indicated on each project page.
C) Consumer recruits who have registered to the program will be invited to a half-day Orientation morning (held annually for new recruits). An introductory workshop into consumers and the medical research landscape will be followed by an informal morning tea where consumers will meet fellow consumer recruits, researchers and students. Further training and network support will be provided for all participants throughout the program to ensure consumers are confident in their role.
D) OPUS will facilitate the initial contact between consumer and research teams and remain in constant contact with both parties. Should any issues occur, OPUS support is available for troubleshooting.
What kind of support can OPUS offer?
Our job is to facilitate the partnership between researchers and consumers in a safe and constructive environment, ensuring appropriate information is shared and received and creating as many opportunities for both parties to benefit.
For a safe and effective consumer engagement program, our role at OPUS is to ensure that all consumer participants are:
- Tier 1: Receiving relevant project updates and research newsletters/surveys, able to freely voice issues, comments and feedback as appropriate and ask for clarification and explanations at any time.
- Tier 2: Provided all information needed to conduct tasks, able to freely voice issues, comments and feedback as appropriate and ask for clarification and explanations at any time.
- Tier 3: Provided all information needed to prepare before meetings, able to ask for clarification and explanation at any time, able to freely voice issues, comments and feedback as appropriate.
- Tier 4: An equal member of the committee, heard and understood, able to ask for clarification and explanations, provided all the information needed to prepare before meetings, able to freely voice issues, comments and feedback as appropriate.
We will provide guidance to consumers at each Tier in their role as partners. We will develop guides and info sheets on how to provide constructive feedback, what kind of feedback researchers are looking for and how your advice contributes to the research project. We encourage all participants to get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there are any queries, concerns or comments.
OPUS will guide all research teams through the Engagement Program and provide timely reminders as each milestone is reached. Depending on the tier, we will:
- Tier 1: Compile progress reports and research highlights for a quarterly consumer project update. Forward any general surveys, basic requests for feedback either to a researchers’ consumer partner or to the consumer cohort for broad feedback.
- Tier 2: Provide consumers with all information needed to conduct tasks, provide communication and troubleshooting support to both consumer and researchers, process compensation claims for document revisions.
- Tier 3: Facilitate the provision of preparatory research material to consumers, provide communication and troubleshooting support to both consumer and researchers, facilitate meeting preparations, process compensation claims for document revisions, sitting fees and travel reimbursements.
- Tier 4: Provide consumers with all preparatory information prior to meetings, provide communication and troubleshooting support to both consumer and researchers, facilitate meeting preparations, process compensation claims for document revisions, sitting fees and travel reimbursements.
Beyond the initial 12-month Pilot Program, research teams will be expected to financially support their consumers’ activities. We understand that this may be a funding burden in the short time period so we will work with researchers to ensure that consumers remain engaged with their work until appropriate funding can be sought. We are invested in producing a positive consumer experience to ensure each research team gets the most out of their consumer partner.