This opportunity is now closed, but further opportunities to join may become available in the future.

Alopecia UK is looking to add new volunteers to the Lay Research Panel, who can help us advance alopecia research! You do not need to have a scientific background or any experience with research. Part of the role of the panel is to bridge the gap between the alopecia research world and alopecia community, by making research more accessible.

The Lay Research Panel is a group of people interested in helping us with our research aim, which is to "give hope and confidence to people with alopecia, by funding research into its causes and to find treatments and ultimately cures". We try to accomplish this aim by giving funding to research projects, supporting researchers, and communicating results and developments in the field with the community.

When researchers apply for funding from us, the views of people with alopecia help us decide what research is most important and should receive funding. Your views and experiences are also very valuable to researchers, as they can improve how the research is done, and so leads to quicker and better results for everyone affected by alopecia.

One of the main tasks of the Lay Research Panel is to review applications during our annual Research Pots awards round, to make sure the research we fund is line with the priorities of people with alopecia. You will generally not be asked to comment on scientific aspects of the research, but rather on the importance and relevance to people with alopecia and the ease of understanding of information and language. You may also be asked to share your personal perspectives and experiences. For details on previously funded projects, see our Funded Projects page. For details on our Priority Settings Partnership, which established the top 10 priorities for AA and non-AA research, see here.

The Lay Research Panel also support researchers year-round by, for example:

  • joining study advisory or steering groups
  • helping set priorities and desired outcomes of studies
  • reviewing study protocols, documentation and language to make sure it is easy to understand
  • helping share the results of research with the community

We call these activities Patient and Public Involvement (PPI).

To do this volunteer role, you will need to:

  • Be happy to share your experiences of alopecia, and your views on what areas of research are important to the community.
  • Have time and be able to read and review research documents such as applications that we may receive during our annual grants round, or participant information sheets for studies. We estimate the time commitments to be as follows:
    • for the Research Pots awards round, individual reviewing of applications approximately 6 hours or 2 afternoons, plus a meeting to discuss your scoring with the Panel. Optionally you may also be invited to join a Research Committee meeting to represent the views of the Lay Panel with the scientific and healthcare experts that make up our committee. This year, reviewing of applications will take place in October.
    • supporting researchers with Patient and Public Involvement happens year-round, and we send opportunities out to the Panel as they arise, to be picked up by those who have availability at that time. You may be asked to review documentation, which could take approximately 30-60 minutes, or to join a meeting with researchers, which could take 60-120 minutes.
  • Be able to join online Zoom/Teams meetings or in-person meetings, with researchers to advise on studies, or to meet with the Research and Liaison Manager and the rest of the Lay Research Panel.
  • Be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prohibits you from sharing the sensitive information contained in research applications and documents.
  • Be comfortable representing the wider alopecia community by sharing your views and opinions with researchers and clinicians. You may be asked to contribute to research on all types of alopecia, not necessarily just your own type of alopecia. However, you would be supported in this by the Research and Liaison Manager.
  • Be a confident communicator, able to explain your points, but with the flexibility to reach shared agreements.

At this time, we are looking for 5 new people to join the panel. The closing date for applications is the 30th of June 2023. We reserve the right to close this process early should we receive a high number of applications.

We want to hear a wide range of perspectives to make sure alopecia research benefits everyone in society that is impacted by alopecia. So, we are keen to involve people from various ethnic and social backgrounds, and with different types of alopecia (including LPP, FFA, CCCA, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, alopecia areata), or their parents/carers. We are also particularly looking for more men to be represented on the panel.

To register your interest, please fill in this short form (now closed). If you have any questions please contact [email protected].

You will be contacted by email after the closing date. Selected applicants will be invited to a short interview on Zoom to discuss their application.