Research lay panel volunteers

Providing valuable input to ensure that patients are at the heart of our research and making a difference to people living with macular disease.

Why we need you

The Macular Society is the UK’s leading charity determined to beat the fear and isolation of macular disease with world-class research, and the best advice and support. By giving your time, you can help shape the research that we fund so that the projects are not only of the best scientific quality, but they will have the most benefit and impact for people affected by macular disease.

As a lay panel member, we will ask you to read lay summaries of research grant applications. The lay summaries will explain the research in a way that is easy to understand for the general public. We will then ask you to provide comments and scores on the application, to understand whether you think the project would have benefit to patients and what strengths or weaknesses it may have.

Will it suit me?

If you are interested in research and keen to share your views and opinions, then this role could be perfect for you. You do not need to have any scientific background to take on this role. However, it does require the ability to read applications, in whatever way works best for you.

As a person living with or supporting someone with macular disease, you have a unique understanding of the impact of these conditions. Your understanding and experience of macular disease will help to assess what research you believe may provide benefit to patients, through new scientific breakthroughs or improving quality of life. We ask that you provide your views and score applications in an impartial manner and give honest and constructive comments.

Time commitment

This role requires reading around 10 to 20 lay summaries, each around 500 words. We aim to give you sufficient time to complete this and will be there to help in any way we can. We will send you the applications in whatever format you prefer: email, post etc., to make the process as easy as possible. Our team will be available to answer any queries you have about the role or any questions relating to the applications and scoring process.

This role is relatively new, so right now we will only ask you to review applications once a year in the autumn/winter. We will work with the panel to shape the role and there may be opportunities to review material more frequently if you wish.

Supporting you

We value our volunteers and we provide the support you need to be confident and successful in your role. You will learn more about us, our work and our research projects and process. Our programme is flexible and you can take part in it from the comfort of your own home. The Research team is on hand for individual support, and you can enjoy the wider help offered as a member of our volunteer network. We will reimburse reasonable out of pocket expenses.

Offering your help

If you see yourself in this role, get in touch to have a chat. If this isn’t for you, then we would still love to hear from you. We have other exciting volunteer opportunities that may be a better fit for your time and talents.  

Contact or 01264 560 207 if you are interested or have any questions about the research volunteer role.

“My mum had it and I have a daughter and a granddaughter. I signed up really for the future generations. I know it won’t do me any good but when you read the macular magazine and you see a little three-year-old child getting it, it just breaks your heart. I kind of knew what was coming with watching my mum go through it and when I heard about the trial that’s what made my mind up.”

- Mary Gilchrist, volunteer