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Ulster University researchers at the forefront of the global battle against Rheumatoid Arthritis are taking a novel approach to prioritising research activities with the launch of a new patient informed Research Advisory Group.

The group will give patients who suffer from the lifelong chronic inflammatory condition, an opportunity to prioritise research studies by sharing their personal experiences with lead scientists, researchers and clinicians in the Western Health Trust and Ulster University's new Centre for Stratified Medicine based at C-TRIC, Altnagelvin.

The patient insights will also be used to create an easy to understand report for the general public that will shape ideas and reflect patient needs in the north-west and beyond. The new group is supported by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and the National Institute for Health Research.

Dr David Gibson, Ulster University explains:

"There is a growing need to gain insight from a patient's perspective on how research studies should be designed and how the outcomes really, if at all, make a life-changing impact for Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers.

"This new forum will support and encourage patients to share their views so they can bring forward issues that they would like to see addressed by scientific and clinical research.

"Not only will their input help shape our report and improve the relevance and impact of the world-leading research we carry out, it will also provide patients with new skills, knowledge, support and a sense of empowerment by helping to shape future health services."