The involvement of patient representatives in cancer research is crucial. Their experiences and perspectives contribute to the development of more relevant and valuable research findings and enable research to be better aligned with the real needs of the target population. Patient involvement also strengthens public support for research projects, promotes transparency and accountability, and improves the translation of research findings into practiceFunding agencies such as BMBF and European Commission promote active participation of patients in co-design of research projects. Participation requires genuine interest, openness and flexibility on the part of all stakeholders. It also requires a change in the research culture towards effective partnerships between researchers, patients and other health care stakeholders. Patients should not be considered only as research objects, but as active and equal partners. Time, financial resources and flexibility are necessary for fruitful participation.