Purpose: In Sweden, the care of older people and people with disabilities is increasingly carried out by informal carers, often family members, who are unpaid and outside a professional or formal framework. While there is an increasing awareness of the role of carers within service systems and their own needs for support, their involvement in research is underexplored. The purpose of this paper is to explore carers’ views and experiences of involvement in research and development (R&D) work. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study was conducted, consisting of 12 individual interviews with carers from different local Swedish carer organizations. Findings: Core findings included carers’ discussions of the perceived challenges and benefits of their involvement in research, both generally and more specifically, in the context of their involvement in the development of a national carer strategy. Research limitations/implications: Limitations included the relative lack of male carer participants and the convenience sample. Practical implications: Authentic carer involvement in research demands a high level of engagement from researchers during the entire research process. The provided CRAC framework, with reference to the themes community, reciprocity, advocacy and circumstantiality, may help researchers to understand and interpret carer involvement in research and provide the prerequisites for their involvement. Originality/value: There is a dearth of studies that systematically examine carer involvement in research. This paper attempts to redress this gap by providing a nuanced analysis of carer involvement in R&D work from the perspective of carers themselves.