Conversation with… Annette Gillett

  1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and research and/or career to this point?

I am a Research Associate with the PenARC patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) team and the Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx).  I joined PenARC’s PPIE team in October 2021, becoming a member of APEx as part of my role in establishing the infrastructure for a primary care-specific PPIE group in the School for Primary Care Research.  I am a nurse by background, initially specialising in palliative care.  Since then, I have worked in the field of learning and development in the NHS, social care and the third sector, as well as holding research posts, most recently working in the Peninsula Childhood Disability Research Unit, before joining PenARC last year.

  1. What are you aiming to do through your fellowship/new post?

My role includes setting up a new APEx PPIE group with a focus on primary care research.  I have established a PPIE Working Group, who have been working with me to develop the infrastructure for this new group, including drafting membership packs and role descriptions.  We are currently planning our approach to recruiting and welcoming new PPIE members to the group from different communities.  We have also developed a PPIE training plan to support involvement, which I am looking forward to implementing.  I will be facilitating our suite of PPIE Ideas Cafés and Advice Clinics for APEx-affiliated researchers and clinicians to book on to, which are available throughout the year.  Overall, I hope to be a useful resource for all researchers in APEx, to support patient and public involvement in their work.

3.What are you looking forward to most in starting your fellowship/new post?

Ultimately, I’m looking forward to working with, and supporting, researchers and public contributors to embed effective and meaningful involvement in all areas and stages of APEx’s research activity.  This role also offers a fantastic opportunity to continue to learn so much from public contributors and other researchers about what works well (and what doesn’t!) in the field of PPIE and I will enjoy reflecting on this and further developing my practice.

4.Tell us something about yourself that may be less well known

I really enjoy open water swimming (cold!), growing broad beans (random!) and seeing which biscuits last longest when dunked in tea (nail-biting!).


Head over to the APEx website to find out more about our team and research