Patient-public engagement activities

We place a high value upon training the next generation of doctors and surgeons; however we also place equal value on the patients and general public whose experience, talents and stories enrich the life of the Institute. Whether you would like to attend the annual science festival, find more about the Trials Connect project which aims to develop “public learning” so the whole community can understand more about clinical trials, attend a Lets talk hearts seminar, join a public and patient advisory group or just learn more about the many patient-public activities you can help with your starting point is here.  

Let's Talk Hearts - Seminar Series

These free talks provide a BRU-led forum to learn about heart conditions, how (and why) you should keep your heart healthy, and the latest research on cardiovascular health. The first cycle of talks (2 years) were supported by a grant by Barts and The London Charity and they have continued with the support of the NIHR CVBRU.  

Next seminar:
24th May 2017 , 3.00pm - 4.30pm, Idea Store Whitechapel London E1 1BU - Location

For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival - 2017 festival

This year's free festival will be on 21st June 2017 - save the date! This will be the seventh year of the festival and is open to all but particularly aimed at secondary schools and young people interested in a career in science and medicine. For more information or if you would be interested in attending or taking part in the 2017 festival (details tba) please email INSERT EMAIL. To book your place please visit our registration page.

Registration update
The Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival is currently fully booked, but you can still join the waiting list and we can let you know if spaces become available. Booked a space/spaces and can no longer attend? Please cancel your space or let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can release spaces to others.

Queries about the festival? Interested in coming to the 2018 festival(details tba)? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A festival particularly aimed at secondary schools and young people interested in a career in science and medicine was held at Queen Mary University of London's Mile End campus on 6 July 2016.

Now in its sixth year, the 2016 festival was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at Barts Health Trust and Queen Mary University of London (NIHR Barts Cardiovascular BRU) and Trials Connect. The 2016 festival also received a generous grant from the QMUL Alumni Annual Fund, which aims to provide additional funds for students and staff who wish to improve the student experience, encourage community engagement and promote academic achievement.

Exhibitors at the festival included Let’s talk hearts (free heart talks for the general public supported by NIHR Barts Cardiovascular BRU and the Farr Institute) with a demonstration on how to extract DNA from a banana, and Venture Thinking (the organization that supports Tim Peake the astronaut) using paper and straws to show what healthy bones look like.

Talks included a panel of volunteer patients from Trials Connect speaking about their experiences of taking part in a clinical trial. 

TrialsConnect is an educational project in lifelong and shared learning. Inspired by the work of the William Harvey Clinical Research Centre it draws on the experience and professional expertise of current and previous clinical trials patients. 

Previous highlights include:

  • A Science Market with over 20 exhibitors from our Medical School (e.g. Centre of the Cell), other Departments of our University (e.g. Electrical Engineering), external organisations (e.g. the Red Cross) and secondary schools in the London area
  • A Science Competition for junior scientists
  • Catchy publicly accessible 'Lecturettes' from established scientists from the BRU disseminating our NIHR funded work
  • Keynote talks from guest speakers, e.g. in 2011 Dr Adam Hart-Davis gave a talk entitled ' A history of time'
  • Live performances by the unique award-winning 'Performing Medicine' group, who use performance and visual art to provide training to medical students.
  • In 2012 Eleanor Crook gave an interesting talk and display entitled'Sculpting Anatomy Waxworks

Pint of Science

The pub is the setting for this festival of talks, Q&A’s, quizzes and chats with some of the world’s best scientific researchers.

Pint of Science
  • School/Institute/Department: School of Medicine and Dentistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Subjects: Science
  • Audience: General public

The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting, fun and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public in the relaxed setting of public houses across the world. QMUL organise annual events to coincide with the three-day festival each May, with a team of volunteers bringing together researchers from across the institution to deliver activities such as talks, quizzes and workshops.

The next festival will be 15-17 May 2017, you can get involved by contacting the QMUL team or visiting the Pint of Science website.

Patient-public engagement activities 2011-2016

The interaction with patients as witnesses and teachers has grown into teaching for research, naive GP’s and practice nurses, and exploring the power of stories to communicate the most difficult aspects of clinical trials. 

Public and patient Advisory Group (PPAG)

Public and Patient Advisory Group (PPAG)

Are you a heart patient/member of the public interested in heart research? Would you like to have a say in the heart research we are doing and in related activities?

Many of our group members have personal experience of cardiovascular involvement with, or treatment at, The London Chest Hospital, or the William Harvey Research Institute. The group’s membership includes two business executives, an educationalist, a research professor and three retired persons. Activities group members have taken part in have included commenting on research grants and posters from a lay perspective and taking an active part in the planning of events such as Barts Health Clinical Trials Day, Let's talk hearts (free heart talks we run  for the general public) and Barts and Queen Mary science festival. Membership of the group is also open to interested lay members of the public as well as patients. If you are interested please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Barts Health Clinical Trials celebrations 2015

Barts Health Clinical Trials celebrations 2015

Activities included a mixture of information stalls with staff on hand at each to engage with patients and respond to queries eg Lets Talk Hearts stand and Women's Health exhibition stands held in the new Barts Heart Centre and talks eg an afternoon of research themed talks held in the Derek Willoughby theatre and an entertaining talk by Professor Atholl Johnson "Clinical Trials - Why bother?" at the Clarke Kennedy lecture theatre in Whitechapel. 

Cardiovascular Lecture

Cardiovascular Lecture

The Year 3 Cardiovascular Lecture Demonstration has for the last three years, featured patients giving live accounts of their symptoms and stories. Patients have taught students about their experiences of myocardial infarction, coronary artery stenting, taking part in a clinical trial and surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (amongst others).

Consent for Clinical Trials

Consent for Clinical Trials

Consent for Clinical Trials, a Practical Approach meeting held at Barts and The London on June 8th 2011 attended by matched numbers of practice nurses and nurse practitioners, and patients or ex-patients. Sponsored by the NIHR Primary Care Research Network for Greater London.

Interested Patient Group originating from ex-clinical trial patients has over 400 members and has helped with a series of meetings including: “Consent for Clinical Trials- a practical approach” first meeting June 2011 for PCRN-GL and the NIHR CV BRU, later in November 2011 at the NUT Headquarters Building for NOCLOR (North London Consortium for Research). Meetings involved GP surgery nurses in taking mock consent with live trial patients.

Growing organically, the connection between trial patients and research becomes more exciting- the consent meeting was very challenging- but everyone involved learnt from it.

Everything you wanted to know about clinical trials but were too afraid to ask

Everything you wanted to know about clinical trials but were too afraid to ask?

Conference held at Barts and The London on July 6th 2011 attended by over 120 patients and ex-patients, GP’s practice nurses and speakers from industry, DoH, academia and the research networks. Sponsored by the NIHR PCRN-GL& the NIHR cardiovascular BRU at WHRI. The next day patients populated the WHRICRC at the WHRI Heart Centre opening on 7th July and told their stories to good effect. Produced DVD/video product for NHS Health Checks programme presented by Jon Snow Innovative website for trials recruitment featuring novel features such as complete comments from all ASCOT participants who returned questionnaires, patient experience videos, interested patients group.

Because clinical trials are now being taught from GCSE science up to masters level, the opportunities to link pre-medical school students, to patients and health professionals through the medium of clinical trials and the stories which make them live and rich experiences are immense. Word in the London trials community about the consent and “everything you wanted” meetings have spread virally and are seen as cutting edge. Our patient videos seen at the Heart Centre opening have been requested to be shown on all the BLT sites to spread the word about research participation.

Start MRC


Patient engagement work led to involvement in a workshop on clinical trials recruitment at QMUL which informed part of a subsequent successful MRC Methodology Programme START (Systematic Testing of Approaches to Recruitment for clinical Trials) on which Dr David Collier is co-investigator with Dr Peter Bower from Manchester and others including Prof Sandra Eldridge (PCTU, QMUL) which started in 2011.

The unscripted video work idea, has influenced others, including Louise Locock in Oxford, and led to the adoption of a video intervention to be tested in the START MRC methodology programme won last year by a national grouping which includes Dr David Collier from WHRI and Sandra Eldridge. START aims to embed trials of recruitment interventions within multiple clinical trials to speed recruitment, which remains a key barrier to UK research delivery, and for which we have a strong national reputation and track record. We are learning about barriers- having segregated the nurses and patients for teaching within the same lecture theatre- and then bringing them together for live “consent” for a simulated trial was electric.

Communications Advisory Group

Communications expert advisory group

To inform the START work, and also help with other communications products from the BRU, in early 2012 Dr David Collier has recruited a Communications expert advisory group,which includes media experts from a wide range of backgrounds, from Creative director in advertising, to a magazine editor, a FTSE top 100 Corporate Affairs Director (comms. chief plus) and both a producer and senior figures from television and radio. Most of the group have won prizes and awards in their respective fields.

Inflammation the Fire of Life

A further example of our success in bringing our science to the general public is our contribution to The Royal Society Summer Festival 2012, where in addition to members of the public, scientists presented to students and teacher, other scientists, policymakers and the media. Dr Fluvio D'Acquisto won a highly prestigious place to exhibit our research at the Festival. The exhibit, created and manned by Dr D'Acquisto and a team of approximately thirty WHRI students and scientists was entitled 'Inflammation: The Fire of Life' and run over an entire week in early July 2012. Over 12,000 high school students, teachers and members of the public attended the exhibit. You can see the official trailer here and accompanying shorts.

Official trailer


Neutrophil function in inflammation



NICE Guidance

In August 2011 our CV BRU funded Heart Centre Clinical Research Centre and our Public and Patient Involvement Group were involved in disseminating the NICE Guidance for Hypertension in filming by BBC, ITV and ITN. Members of the BRU also took part in radio interviews for Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Berkshire and television interviews on BBC News 24. Here are some examples of our media dissemination involving members of our Public and Patients group to the public - BBC News

UK Symposium on Renal Denervation and Joint UK Societies Consensus Statement

The UK Symposium on Renal Denervation is now in it's 3rd year. This educational symposium is aimed at interventional cardiologists, radiologists, nephrologists and primary/secondary care physicians with a special interest in hypertension. One of our Public and Patients Group members spoke at our first Symposium in 2011 to the 166 delegates about what it feels like to have renal denervation. 

Two of our patients advised and helped structure the patient facing sections of the Joint UK Societies’ Consensus Statement on Renal Denervation designed to be read alongside NICE IP418 and aid safe and effective transition of our BRU work into the NHS.

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