The RDS provides free expert advice to help NHS researchers, and others working in partnership with the NHS, develop and design high quality research proposals for national funding competitions, including NIHR funding.

Our advisers will be happy to meet with you at a convenient time and place to discuss your research and, where required, offer ongoing support to help you finalise your grant application.

The RDS offers advice and guidance on all aspects of research design and conduct including –

  • Formulating research questions – including advice on literature review and publication database searches, embracing systematic review, determining what research has already been done on a topic to avoid duplication and how new research may be able to add to existing knowledge.
  • Research design for quantitative studies – We provide guidance on the design of your study and appropriate analytical strategies. We can provide advice on feasibility, pilot and definitive trial designs, as well as the conduct of non-RCT studies, such as observational and quasiexperimental studies. We advise on the inclusion of health economic analyses in your study.
  • Research design for qualitative studies – on the range of approaches from ethnographic to interview based techniques, including appropriate methods and analytical strategies.
  • Identifying and applying to appropriate funding sources – including searching databases of funders, and advice on preparing appropriate applications.
  • Contacting appropriate collaborators in research – in universities and in the NHS including both researchers and practitioners, and embracing patients, patient representatives and the public at all stages in formulating research questions, designing, carrying out and acting on research.

The RDS can provide post-funding advice to researchers experiencing difficulties and who received and acknowledged RDS support in their successful funding applications. This support may relate to study set-up, delivery or analysis, but will be advisory only, including signposting to other groups. The RDS cannot provide support to fill gaps in the expertise of research teams.

We also offer:

  •  Workshops, seminars and presentations covering, for example, development of grant/ fellowship applications or public involvement in research design
  •  Tailored presentations about the support available from the RDS YH and the different NIHR funding streams which can be delivered on site if required

What do I need to do before making contact?

We encourage researchers to make contact with the RDS YH at an early stage to discuss your ideas, although you may contact us at any stage as you develop your research proposal. It is advisable to provide us with as much information as possible before we meet. This can take the format of a brief summary of the problem, why it is important and how research will benefit patients and/or the NHS. If you do have an outline proposal or any preliminary data, please include this with your request for support as it will help us ensure you get the type of methodological support that you need.

How do I arrange an appointment with the RDS?

Advice and support is best provided face-to-face. Our RDS advisors will be very happy to meet with you at a convenient time and place to discuss your research and, where required, offer ongoing support to help you to finalise your grant application. RDS staff may also agree to become collaborators on your research project, but this is not always necessary or possible.

Just submit an online ‘Request for Advice and Support’ form and we will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

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