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Research Design Service

Purpose of the RDS

The RDS helps researchers (from the NHS, Universities and other organisations) prepare research proposals for submission to NIHR funding streams and other national bodies. The purpose is to increase the number and proportion of high quality of applications being received. On a day-to-day basis work with service users includes: assessing and developing research proposals, research design for quantitative and qualitative studies, identifying and applying to appropriate funding sources, and contacting appropriate collaborators in research. Advice and support may involve a mixture of face-to-face, telephone, email and website contact.

The primary remit of the regional RDS is to support investigators:

  • working in the North-East of England;
  • preparing proposals for health or social care research;
  • aiming to enhance clinical practice & patient outcomes and/or improve public health;
  • and, submitting proposals to NHS (NIHR) funding streams.

Examples of such funding streams include the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), Service Development and Organisation (SDO) and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programmes.  A full list of funding streams and their funding activities is provided by the NIHR.  The NIHR provides details of current calls for proposals.

To this end we can offer advice on draft protocols but also at a more formative stage helping researchers to formulate research questions and to identify appropriate developmental steps or training. The RDS also provides limited post-funding advice, on a 'trouble-shooting' basis.

Both pre- and post-funding advice through RDS is free of charge to researchers from the region, whose work is within our scope, though resource constraints mean that the number of hours of advice provided to any one researcher will be limited appropriately. Where service users seek collaboration and it fits with University aims and objectives, RDS or other University staff may collaborate in research proposals.  However, these collaborations need to be fully costed into proposals and funded.

The following are not part of the role of the RDS: 'hands on' help with quantitative or qualitative data, conduct of statistical analysis, MSc or PhD proposals, or completion of applications for funding, ethical, regulatory or R&D approval. When working within the RDS, staff are not funded as part of the RDS contract to do research. However RDS staff also have their own funded research and teaching portfolios.