about us
The Research Design Service is part of the infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).  The Research Design Service West Midlands (RDS WM) is one of ten regional services across England.  Our advice is free of charge and although priority is given to those applying to NIHR and nationally competitive funding streams, where capacity allows we can provide advice to those planning to submit proposals to other recognised funding bodies such as research councils or charities.

Professor Neil Thomas is the Director of RDS WM and is based at the University of Birmingham.  He is Professor in Epidemiology and Research Methods in the Institute of Applied Health Research. He is also the Co-Director, Master of Health Research Methods Programme.  Professor Thomas has an international portfolio of research in Europe and Asia investigating in the fields of cardiometabolic disease epidemiology, prevention and control.  Major ongoing studies include the 30,000 plus Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, China, and one of the largest CVD endpoint studies assessing the effectiveness of a PolyPill in Iran.  He has published over 270 articles, including over 200 in indexed, peer-reviewed journals, with a Google H-index of 50.  These are predominantly in the area of cardiovascular disease epidemiology.  He is on the editorial advisory board of 7 international journals and a reviewer for a number of national and international funding agencies.

 
RDS WM is a collaborative service with hubs based at the Universities of Birmingham, Keele and Warwick.  We can advise on all aspects of designing a research study or identifying suitable sources of funding for projects and you can contact us at any stage in the development of your proposal.  However, we are able to offer the greatest assistance when we are involved at an early stage.
 
Each of our three hubs serves different zones in the West Midlands region; this enables you to get advice from experts based in your local area.
 


Birmingham hub

Welcome to the Birmingham Hub of the West Midlands Research Design Service (RDS WM)

The RDS WM is part of the infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research and has been established to provide help to anyone working in the West Midlands region who has a 'good idea' and wants to turn it into a research proposal for submission to peer-reviewed funding programmes in applied health and social care.

The RDS WM has three 'hubs' based in the Universities of Birmingham, Keele and Warwick.

The Birmingham Hub provides support to all health and social care staff working in NHS Trusts and other organisations within Birmingham and the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton).

Each Hub has a team of staff with expertise in statistics, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, clinical trials, evidence synthesis, health economics, epidemiology, public and patient involvement, and ethics and governance.

The Expert Panel comprises senior academics with substantial experience in specific methodological areas, including:

  • Statistics
  • Health Economics
  • Clinical Trials
  • Epidemiology
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Surveys
  • Qualitative techniques (e.g. focus groups, interviews)
  • Quality of Life

Keele Hub

Welcome to the Keele Hub of the West Midlands Research Design Service (RDS WM)

The RDS WM is part of the infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research and has been established to provide help to anyone working in the West Midlands region who has a 'good idea' and wants to turn it into a research proposal for submission to peer-reviewed funding programmes in applied health and social care.

The RDS WM has three 'hubs' based in the Universities of Birmingham, Keele and Warwick.

The Keele Hub provides support to all health and social care staff working in NHS Trusts and other organisations within Stoke, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Each Hub has a team of staff with expertise in statistics, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, clinical trials, evidence synthesis, health economics, epidemiology, public and patient involvement, and ethics and governance.

The Expert Panel comprises senior academics with substantial experience in specific methodological areas, including:

  • Statistics
  • Health Economics
  • Clinical Trials
  • Epidemiology
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Surveys
  • Qualitative techniques (e.g. focus groups, interviews)

Warwick Hub

Welcome to the Warwick Hub of the West Midlands Research Design Service (RDS WM)

The RDS WM is part of the infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research and has been established to provide help to anyone working in the West Midlands region who has a 'good idea' and wants to turn it into a research proposal for submission to peer-reviewed funding programmes in applied health and social care.

The RDS WM has three 'hubs' based in the Universities of Birmingham, Keele and Warwick.

The Warwick Hub provides support to all health and social care staff working in NHS Trusts and other organisations within Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Each Hub has a team of staff with expertise in statistics, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, clinical trials, evidence synthesis, health economics, epidemiology, public and patient involvement, and ethics and governance.

The Director of the Warwick Hub of the RDS WM is Professor Nigel Stallard, and the Hub Administrator is Stephanie Smart.

Experienced researchers act as front-line advisors (FLAs) in the Warwick Hub. The FLAs are able to discuss your enquiry and provide initial advice to support your research proposal.

The FLAs can offer advice on:

  • Formulating research questions
  • Building an appropriate research team
  • Involving patients and the public
  • Designing a study
  • Appropriate methodologies
  • Identifying suitable funding sources
  • Regulatory issues
  • Writing lay summaries
  • Mixed methods research
In addition to providing advice, FLAs may also refer specific enquiries to members of the Warwick Hub Expert Panel.



For further help please use our online enquiry form to contact us.

For further information please see our Standard Operating Procedures (and Data Protection Policy), Charter and our current Information Leaflets.