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'Not all researchers wear white coats' A mum and her son cooking.

Not all researchers wear white coats

Researchers always wear white lab coats? Obviously, that is a stereotype, which is seldom correct. They are generally indistinguishable for the rest of the population. Open minded, curious, careful and rigorous. And with this “citizen science” project, the researchers can be anybody who has lived experience of eczema.

Amazement, disbelief and excitement hit all of us when we heard this plan, which had already taken two years to put together, to spend the next 5 years doing as yet to be determined high quality research into ways of managing eczema had been funded by the NHS’s research body, NIHR. The NIHR does not give funding without being very sure that their money is being appropriately used. And yet because the research is going to be decided by those living with eczema, the precise research is yet to be decided.

Patients and carers in the eczema community come in all shapes and sizes. No person’s experience is quite like another’s. But there are common experiences for all or segments of the community. We need to find those commonalities and those differences – so every person who joins with us will be so important to help understand where the current management practice works well and where it does not.

Integrity, reliability and proven track record, in delivering high quality trials, of the researchers and health care professionals who are going to help patients and carers deliver this ambitious project were key in helping the NIHR choose this project.

Distribution of the knowledge generated by this project to all interested parties will be as soon and as thorough as possible. We will not be waiting until the end of the five years project. We want this project to be making a difference as it goes along.

Written by Amanda Roberts Patient-researcher co-lead of the RAPID project August 2022

Originally published at blogs.nottingham.ac.uk

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This project is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research programme (PGfAR NIHR203279). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.