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Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health Blog



Archive for the 'RDS' Category

By Nathan Davies, on 24 April 2017


rds imageResearch Design Service 


This month Jane Wilcock explains the North London Research Design Service.

Here at PCPH we are a Hub covering the North London region of the London Research Design Service (RDS).  Several members of the department are involved as RDS advisors along with colleagues from across UCL.

We offer support to any researcher or health and social care professional who are preparing a grant application to a national peer reviewed funding stream, e.g. NIHR, MRC, Wellcome Trust, charity or even educational grants from industry.

As skilled NIHR RDS advisors we will provide a review which considers all aspects of your application from identifying a suitable funding stream, developing your research question, importance and rationale for the research, the research team composition, as well as the study design.


Using a case managed approach we then facilitate input from specialist RDS advisors in health economics, statistics, qualitative research and health psychology. These specialists can work with you to further develop aspects of your research project.

We even provide mock panel interviews for shortlisted candidates.

“It was very helpful to have an initial general discussion with the RDS team about the overall focus for the call”.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is an integral component of the advice given to those approaching RDS London. Support is given on an individual level, we want to ensure that researchers adopt good PPI practice. NIHR RDS London has an Enabling Involvement Fund to facilitate involvement of patients and the public in designing and developing a research proposal. This fund, has the potential to be very meaningful for researchers and patients and the public and the feedback and success rate in achieving funding so far been excellent. NIHR 4

“We have found RDS feedback to be very useful after the rejection of this application first time round. We are particularly grateful for their suggestions on the ‘Health Economic’ and ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ aspects of our application. Overall the patient centred approach suggested by the RDS has certainly aided the development of our project and strengthened our final proposal”.

A new addition to our PPI support is our fast track lay-summary review service: researchers are benefiting from access to our dedicated network of public advisers, providing detailed input and advice on the lay summaries of their research proposals.

It is satisfying working for the NIHR RDS, feedback is extremely positive. Of the people who have come to RDS London for advice, 45% have submitted an application, and 50% of full submissions were funded.NIHR 5

“RDS London provided useful experience that helped us navigate our way through the application process. We found the service to be a very useful resource to help us challenge and improve many aspects of our study and grant application –and we are very grateful to them for the support”.

We always suggest approaching us as early as possible before submission – ideally three to six months (minimum four weeks) – so we can provide meaningful input into the research proposal: You can formally request individual support using our support request form

Or come to one of our drop in sessions on the first Tuesday of every month 11-13:00, see locations here

We look forward to working with you to support your funding applications.

Check out RDS website for more information and resources.