This year we launched the Shape Network Application Clinics as part of our annual grant application assessment process. The clinics gave researchers the opportunity to meet members of the network to discuss their proposed research. By involving people affected by epilepsy in the development of a proposal, we are supporting researchers to produce stronger applications.

WHAT IS AN APPLICATION CLINIC?

Our application clinics bring together researchers and people affected by epilepsy to encourage and enable discussion and debate about a potential grant application.

HOW DO THEY WORK?

Researchers attend a virtual meeting with two members of the Shape Network that is facilitated by Epilepsy Research UK. During the clinics, discussion topics include how the research will benefit people affected by epilepsy and how best to involve people with lived experience. Network members also advise the researcher on ways to make the complex scientific language more accessible, and how best to communicate the potential impact of the research.

HOW ARE THEY MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

For researchers, understanding the needs of people affected by epilepsy, working through the practicalities of research involvement, and demonstrating the potential impact is invaluable. For people affected by epilepsy, knowing they have influenced the potential success of life changing research is hugely rewarding. For Epilepsy Research UK, we know this is another vital step in ensuring the research we fund has been rigorously assessed by experts by experience.

I really enjoyed being involved in the application clinics as part of the Shape Network, and found the research applications so interesting. Wonderful to meet so many researchers and learn about the exciting research.
Application Clinic Volunteer

During this year’s grant round, Shape Network members contributed valuable expertise gained from their lived experience, complementing the research expertise of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). This involvement at the key stages in the decision-making pathway will accelerate further progress by ensuring people affected have supported Epilepsy Research UK to fund the best and most impactful projects.
Professor Mike Cousin, Epilepsy Research UK SAC Chair

Find out more about the Shape Network in our 2022 Focus Spring Newsletter here.