Patient engagement often starts after research funding is secured with little or no involvement of patients in the proposal development phase. This paper compares three levels of patient engagement and describes patients' early engagement in research proposal development process and its contemporary relevance to clinical and translational research. Authentic patient engagement is illustrated using an example of an ongoing pragmatic clinical trial. The paper also addresses key patient considerations and questions that have an impact on the proposal development. The final section presents strategies to overcome challenges to the patients' early engagement in research proposal development approach from the perspectives of both patients and researchers. Although the examples are from comparative effectiveness research, strategies discussed can be applied to all clinical and translational research.
Keywords: clinical and translational research; comparative effectiveness research; patient involvement; patient participation; proposal writing; research design; research development.