Cardiff Research Institute establishes Lay Faculty
20 April 2016
The Systems Immunity Research Institute sets up a Lay Faculty to foster a close dialogue between its scientists and the public.
The Lay Faculty is the first of its kind at Cardiff University and will transform the way research and engagement activities are being coordinated.
The Institute’s interdisciplinary teams cover the alarming emergence of untreatable infections, the growing rates of allergies and autoimmune disorders, and the substantial health challenges associated with a world-wide ageing population, using a combination of laboratory-based, computational and clinical approaches.
Professor Paul Morgan, the Director of the Systems Immunity Research Institute stated: “Our Institute is a newly created research centre at Cardiff University that addresses many of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century. We strive to deliver long-term impacts on science and education and make a real difference in the clinic, and are therefore proud to have a Lay Faculty in place that will help us reach our goals.”
The Lay Faculty reviews research priorities, help identify new lines of research, gives input into research proposals and impact statements, and contributes to the dissemination of research findings to relevant interest groups.
Faculty member Roy Norris stated: “The issues addressed by the Institute are absolutely relevant for the entire population. I know that I owe my life to research and that people must involve themselves to the best of their abilities in order that research is focused, relevant and explained to the public at large.”
The Systems Immunity Research Institute recruited members of the public who are passionate about science and health-related matters and possess imagination and good communication skills. They commit approximately two hours of their time per month to Lay Faculty-related activities and join for a minimum of 12 months, after which membership will be reviewed.
Faculty member Lewis Evans stated: “Future treatments come from effective basic research and we all have an interest in engaging with it. So many lives, including my own, have been affected by serious disease at some time or other - or will be. Being involved in the research process as a Lay Faculty member is important and rewarding.”
The establishment of the Lay Faculty has benefited greatly from close links of the Systems Immunity Research Institute with Health and Care Research Wales via the Involving People Network, the Wales Cancer Research Centre, the Wales Kidney Research Unit and HealthWise Wales.
Angela Martin, the Lead for Public Involvement and Engagement at the Welsh Government’s Research and Development Division stated: “Our ambition through Health and Care Research Wales is to create an environment where the public are central to health and social care research in Wales. This will help put the citizen at the heart of creating new knowledge and putting new knowledge into practice. I am therefore impressed with the outline and intention of the Lay Faculty and what it aims to achieve. It is encouraging to see this type of activity being undertaken across Wales.”