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Table 2 Summary of identified priority setting processes (N = 11)

From: Health research priority setting in selected high income countries: a narrative review of methods used and recommendations for future practice

Reference Aim of priority setting process scope country Method used to generate priorities Criteria used to guide generation of priorities Criteria or method for ranking priorities Stakeholders represented Success of model in meeting objectives
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC); NHMRC Road Map I and II [9], [10] Support and foster research to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Road Map I: Road Map I: Six research themes were established by a working group and research questions were elicited within these themes: (i) Patterns of risk, disease and death; (ii) Resilience and wellness; (iii) Health service research; (iv) Health impact of non-health sector policies and programs; (v) Previously under-researched populations and communities; (vi) Improving research capacity Road Map I: Priorities not ranked. - Peak Advisory Bodies for Aboriginal Health Not reported
i. Broad themes identified by advisory group
- Health Organisations
- Researchers
Broad themes and specific research questions.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community representatives
ii. Call for written comments from stakeholders
iii. Series of workshops held to refine research issues and themes.
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH); Setting and meeting priorities in Indigenous health research [11] Develop a model for collaborative development of research projects. Roundtable discussion convened with industry partners and researchers. Existing priorities of the research program used. Priorities ranked by board according to perception of greatest impact. Both social merit and scientific merit considered. Representatives from: Not reported
- Aboriginal Health
- Relevant government agencies
- Health care funders
- Peak bodies
- Interested researchers
- Community leaders
Specific research questions developed from pre-determined themes.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada; Establishing priorities for Aboriginal Research in Canada [23] Develop Aboriginal research as a priority area. National call for briefs on shaping a proposed Aboriginal health research Agenda. Call for submissions in five areas: (i) Program priorities; (ii) Ethical guidelines; (iii) Methodologies; (iv) Decision-making; (v) Building capacity – nurturing indigenous scholarship. Priorities not ranked. Representatives from: Not reported
- Aboriginal organisations
- Academic organisations
Specific research questions.
- Government
- Community organisations
Institute of Medicine (IOM); Developing National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research [19] Determine research priorities for comparative effectiveness research. i. Stakeholder input sought via email and letter correspondence None reported. Respondents were invited to identify three priority areas and (i) provide data to justify each choice; (ii) assign each topic to a single primary research area; and (iii) identify the study population and identify a proposed methodology. Four portfolio criteria were used by the committee to ensure a balance of questions reflecting a wide range of research areas, methodologies, populations. Condition level criteria and Priority topic-level criteria were then used to rank priorities. - Media Not reported
- Policy makers
- Academics
- Consumers
ii. Web questionnaire circulated to more than 20,000 individuals seeking specific priority research recommendations - Researchers
Specific research questions. - Health care industry
- Health care providers
United States.
- Staff of government agencies
iii. Public session held for stakeholder presentations.
Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, in partnership; Listening for Direction I, II, III [20]- [22] Identify areas where research investment is most likely to improve system-level decision making. i. Environmental scan of policy issues Stakeholders given timeframe to consider research outcomes: (i) Listening for Direction I – Medium term (2–5 years); (ii) Listening for Direction II – Short term (6–24 months) and medium term (2–5 years); (iii) Listening for Direction III – Short term (6–24 months) and long term (3–10 years). i. Translation and sorting sessions used to identify emergent themes from earlier stages. - Research funders; Not clear
- Decision makers (hospital and health region managers, clinical leaders)
ii. Decision making groups, research groups and funding organisations surveyed
- Researchers
- Research users (consultants, professional associations, knowledge brokers)
Broad themes and illustrative research questions.
ii. Themes categorised as primary or secondary according to how frequently they were encountered.
iii. A single top priority emerged as the most frequently encountered. Otherwise priorities were not ranked further.
iii. Workshops held to discuss priority issues
National Health Service (NHS); Setting Priorities for Research in Primary and Secondary Care [14], [15] Identify and prioritise needs for research and development in primary and secondary health care. i. Advisory group established (i) Need: likely benefit of research to NHS and patient care; relevance to policy initiatives; burden of disease; costs to the service and to patients; and level of practice variation; Priorities ranked using the same criteria used to generate priorities. Members of advisory panel scored topics on a five point scale according to criteria with priorities ranked - Nurses Not reported
ii. Two researchers asked to provide the advisory group with a critical overview of current evidence
- Clinicians (generalist and specialist)
- Management (purchasers and providers)
- Research
Broad research topics. - Consumers
United Kingdom. iii. Three separate panels convened to review evidence provided and seek stakeholder input using a variety of methods. (ii) Research and development potential: feasibility of research including availability of existing methodology and resources; likelihood of research being implemented; management commitment to the issue; study design; and participants. according to mean scores.   
National Coordinating Centre for Service Delivery and Organisation, National Health Service (NHS); Establishing Research Priorities for Service Delivery Research- National Listening Exercise [18] Set research priories for service delivery research by the NHS in England. i. Expert forum convened to advise on composition of focus groups and issues that should be addressed Participants asked to generate priorities that could be achieved within next 3–5 years. Priorities not ranked. - Consumers Not reported
- Educators
ii. 22 focus groups with stakeholders held
- Research funders
- Innovators
iii. Findings from focus groups validated against other sources of information
- Researchers
iv. Priorities translated into research themes
Research themes.
United Kingdom.
Consulting about Priorities for the NHMRC National Breast Centre [12] Identify agreed areas of priority for the work of the newly established National Breast Centre. Representative group of stakeholders invited to attend a workshop hosted by state based cancer organisations. Attendees generated a list of priorities prior to the meeting and presented them to the group. Less structured workshops held with Aboriginal and other groups. No explicit criteria. Participants drew on personal experiences and perspectives. Nominal group technique. Priorities ranked based on discussion and group consensus. - Women diagnosed with or at heightened risk of breast cancer and their partners; Outcome of process was used to draft the NHMRC National Breast Cancer Centre’s strategic direction document.
- Health professionals (medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, providers of Breast Screen Australia, nurses)
Areas of priority.
- Public health experts
- Administrators
National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia Research Priority Setting Exercise [13] Establish priorities for anaesthesia and perioperative medicine and to direct the attention of researchers and funding bodies to these priorities. i. List of research questions generated via completion of a questionnaire by anaesthesiologists and lay representatives. Respondents asked to generate research questions that could ‘lead to improvements in patient care, patient safety and patient outcomes’. No other criteria stated. Patients drew on own experiences and perspectives. Respondents scored presented priorities according to importance on 10 point likert scale rather than ranking them against each other. - Anaesthesiologists Not reported
- Lay representatives of a patient liaison group
ii. Results collated into theme areas to produce a list for further prioritisation.
Specific research questions.
United Kingdom.
Second questionnaire sent asking anaesthesiologists and lay representatives to identify their level of support for each identified area. A brief vignette, one to two pages in length, was prepared for each question in the second survey and provided to the expert panel.
James Lind Alliance; Identifying and prioritizing uncertainties: Patient and clinician agreement in identification of research questions [16] Develop a prioritized ranking of treatment uncertainties in asthma that require further research. i. Collaboration between organisations established No criteria provided. Three rounds of a nominal group technique. Participants at prioritization workshop were first asked to rank the list of 21 treatment uncertainties presented in order of importance prior to workshop. Nominal group process then occurred until consensus achieved. - Asthma patients (Asthma UK staff and patient advocates) Not reported
- Researchers
- Clinical specialists
ii. Explicit statements of research need identified from clinical guidelines, reviews and research recommendations
iii. Patient survey developed and sent to consumers and placed on public website
Specific research questions.
United Kingdom.
London Region Research and Development Programme; Using consensus methods to establish multidisciplinary perspectives on research priorities for primary care [17] To examine the feasibility of using consensus techniques to determine priority research questions on the effectiveness, cost and quality of prescribing. Nominal group interview with 12 participants. Participants asked “What research questions on the effectiveness, cost and quality of prescribing should be given priority for support as research questions in this locality?” None. Scores and items from priority generation stage reviewed by steering group and six priority themes developed. Stratified sampling used to recruit balanced sample of pharmacists, general practitioners and nurses who engaged in a two-round postal Delphi process. - Pharmacists Not reported
- General Practitioners
- Nurses
Broad themes that were turned into specific research questions.
United Kingdom.