Research Design Service: West Midlands
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Supporting researchers at all stages of preparing grant applications

Research Design Service (RDS) West Midlands provides support to those preparing research proposals for submission to peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.

RDS West Midlands is part of a network of regional support services funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). They form a key part of the research infrastructure and provide advice and guidance free of charge through consultation with experts and use of online resources.

RDS WM support during the COVID-19 crisis - Despite the ongoing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) RDS West Midlands will continue to support clients who are developing applications for health and social care research. We will, however, not be offering face to face meetings but our specialist researchers across the region will be happy to meet via greater use of email, telephone and videoconferencing. 

Support requests should be submitted in the usual way via the request form

You can also contact us via our e-mail –

If you are conducting a research project for which you received funding from an open, national, peer-reviewed funding scheme and are currently experiencing problems - e.g. due to COVID 19 and the impact lockdown has had on many studies - the RDS can assist you with problems you may be having relating to issues of research design. We can provide assistance whether or not you had RDS support when submitting your study for funding. Do feel free to contact us, either to your local hub or by sending a general support request via our website

Please note, however, that if you need advice that is not to do with research design – e.g. relating to research governance, funding, and logistical issues – this is probably best sought elsewhere, e.g. a Research and Development Department in your organization or the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN).

Are you thinking of applying for a research grant – NIHR or other open, competitive, peer reviewed funding? Do you have an idea for a health or social care research proposal, but require help with writing a grant application?

Colleagues at RDS South Central are hosting an online event

Dates: Tuesday 2nd to Thursday 4th March 2021

Time: 09:30-13:30 (optional one-to-ones from 14:30)

Location: Online

Details: This event focuses on how to sell your research idea by:

• writing a convincing application with a good structure, flow and argument, and providing guidance on what reviewers are looking for

• presenting a strong methods section, including statistical, qualitative, and health economics elements

• presenting effective Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

• having a good project plan & demonstrating potential impact

• engaging with sources of external support for your research

Who should attend: This event is open to UK-based healthcare professionals, social care and public health practitioners, and health and social care researchers who are intending to apply to any NIHR or other open, competitive, peer reviewed funding programme in the 12 months following the masterclass.

Find out more and register here




Don't forget to take a look at our RDSblog: monthly tips, insights and experiences of the funding application process

RDS blog: Support for Social Care Research

This RDS blog looks at the challenges faced by social care researchers in applying for funding and introduces an RDS model of support to help researchers engage and develop competitive and relevant social care applications.