Patients and drug developers look at an illness from entirely different perspectives. Closing this perspective gap is one of the unmet social needs that drove the creation of IMI. Though the industry agreed for a long time that patient engagement was welcome and necessary, nobody really knew how to go about it. There was one concern that worried them in particular: will people with no training in medicine R&D be able to make a worthwhile contribution to a process they know nothing about? This led IMI to set up a training academy to teach patients and the people who care for them the basics of drug development; EUPATI was the first of its kind for European patients. The Academy was followed by the launch of a number of research projects that are establishing the goals and ground rules for citizen involvement in the high-stakes world of making medicines.