Patient Partnership

What is patient partnership?

Patient partnership in research is when researchers work together with people with lived expertise, or experience, of a health condition to do research. The Institute of Genetics now uses the term "patient partnership" instead of "patient engagement" because we believe this term better reflects the value of patient contributions to research. Patient partnership activities can be varied, but the value of those activities is always high.

Why is patient partnership in research important?

Patient partnership is important because it is how people with lived experience of a health condition can contribute their expertise to impact decisions about what research questions are important to answer, how to do the research, and how to share the results with the public. Research is collaborative and patient partner expertise of a health condition is just as important as that of the scientists, statisticians, and others on the research team. This is why we refer to the lived experience of patients and caregivers as "expertise."

How are patients and caregivers involved with the Institute of Genetics (IG)?

We invite patients and caregivers to contact us so that we can get to know and find the best ways to support each other. We also invite researchers wanting to partner with patients in their research programs to contact us if they want guidance and advice on how to best do this in a respectful and inclusive manner.

Patients and caregivers partner with the Institute of Genetics in many ways, and we are always looking for more opportunities to work with, and hear from, the community. Some patient partners will engage in one-time opportunities, others may work with IG on an ongoing basis. Some examples of how patients and caregivers have been involved with the Institute of Genetics in recent years include: serving on our Institute Advisory Board, reviewing grant applications for funding, informing the development of our activities, and speaking at our events.

Training & Resources

There are many wonderful resources to help with every aspect of patient partnership in health research. Below, we share some of the top resources that we recommend.

See something else that you think should be on the list? Let us know! Contact Jillian:

Community of Practice

Founded in 2022, CIHR's Engagement Community of Practice was created with the belief that involving patients and the public in decisions about health research is key to doing research that best meets their needs.

The Institute of Genetics is committed to meaningful patient partnership and hired a staff member to lead this initiative. As part of that role, the Team Lead for Patient Partnership organized a Community of Practice to bring together staff from across CIHR's Institutes to discuss and further develop best practices around patient & public engagement in health research. This Community of Practice aims to better integrate efforts across the Institutes and branches, promote learning and best practice, increase cohesion of approaches, and reduce redundancy with respect to public & patient engagement.

Staff from various branches of CIHR are also involved in this Community of Practice to learn and help integrate this work across the organization. The first meeting was in June 2022 and the group meets several times per year to share, learn, and develop harmonized approaches.


IG's Planning & Dissemination grants are a great way to secure funding for a variety of patient partnership activities. Deadlines are twice per year. See example call.

  • Some examples of possible activities:
    • Applicants can apply for funds to build a research team that includes patient partners.
    • Applicants can apply for funds to co-develop and host a workshop with patient partners.

Do you have questions about what funding is available? Get in touch!

Featured research

Patient Partnership in Juvenile idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) research

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