Fighting Blindness hosts a P.P.I Training event for both researchers and those affected by vision loss

Public and Patient Involvement (P.P.I) ensures those with the lived experience have an active say in research activities. A key priority for Fighting Blindness is to promote P.P.I in vision research and help researchers learn how to meaningfully incorporate P.P.I into their research.

Fighting Blindness recently organised a P.P.I training event which took place on the 9th November in the Brooks Hotel in Dublin.

The aim of this half-day event was to highlight the importance of involving the voice of those affected by vision loss in research and effectively communicating research to the public. The training brought together vision loss researchers from Irish universities (including members of Retina Network Ireland) and members of the Fighting Blindness Visually Impaired Person’s (V.I.P) Network.


The Research Officer, Shannon Lee, presenting at the P.P.I. event.
The Fighting Blindness team introduces the audience to P.P.I.


During the morning, we had an introduction to P.P.I from Fighting Blindness which discussed the value of P.P.I in research and ways P.P.I can be incorporated throughout the research cycle. This included a Panel Discussion with three invited speakers: Prof Breandán Kennedy (vision loss researcher at the Conway Institute, UCD), Gerry Eastwood (a member of the Fighting Blindness V.I.P Network with experience in P.P.I. activities), and Dylan Keegan (research subject advocate at the Clinical Research Centre, UCD).

The panellists gave the audience some valuable insight into P.P.I in research from their different perspectives and discussed their experiences of P.P.I partnerships, offering advice and answering questions from attendees.


The image shows the panelists during the panel discussion part of the P.P.I event.
The panellists during the Panel Discussion part of the P.P.I Training event.


The second half of the event involved an interactive session which focussed on how best to communicate research studies to non-scientific audiences. This involved researchers and V.I.P network members working together in groups to review sample lay summaries for research projects. The room was buzzing with conversation as each group discussed the summaries and highlighted ways that they could be improved for communicating to a non-scientific audience.

The event came to a close with everyone gathering together over lunch to continue their conversations and create new connections.

We would like to sincerely thank all attendees for such an interactive training morning. We would also like to thank our panellists for joining us and sharing their valuable insights to help our attendees learn how to get involved in meaningful P.P.I.


The V.I.P. member and panelist on the day, Gerry Eastwood, standing next to a Fighting Blindness pull up banner.
The V.I.P Network member and panellist on the day, Gerry Eastwood.


We received some really positive comments and feedback from attendees of the training.

Feedback we received from V.I.P Network members include:

It was concise and informative. I enjoyed meeting the researchers and hearing their point of view.


Click below to hear what another V.I.P Network member and panelist on the day, Gerry Eastwood, had to say about the event:

  • To download the mp3 version of the file directly to your device, please click here


We also received positive feedback from some RNI researchers: 

I enjoyed getting to talk to some of the V.I.P network that attended. It was a good overview and also being able to get some practice in lay abstracts.


Click below to hear what one of our funded researchers, Patrizia Colucci, had to say about the training:

  • To download the mp3 version of the file directly to your device, please click here


More information about the V.I.P network and Retina Network Ireland (RNI) can be found below:

  • The Visually Impaired Person’s (V.I.P) network is a Fighting Blindness initiative for people affected by sight loss who are interested in Public and Patient Involvement (P.P.I) and wish to take part in advocacy and research opportunities. To find out more about the V.I.P network and how to join, please click here
  • Retina Network Ireland (RNI) is an all-island network for early career researchers, clinicians and allied healthcare professionals in the area of vision loss to provide career-building, training, and networking opportunities. To find out more about RNI and how to join, please click here


Fighting Blindness plan to continue to organise events for both members of the V.I.P Network and RNI members in the future. We aim to give more opportunities for people to discuss research and highlight the importance of Public and Patient Involvement in research to ensure the lived experience is at the heart of research carried out.

Click here to read about our previous V.I.P Network Coffee Morning Event.

If you would like to know more about Public and Patient Involvement, the V.I.P Network or Retina Network Ireland, you can email the Fighting Blindness Research Department at