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).

 The NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry has been launched. It will help people across the UK sign up for information on the new COVID-19 vaccine studies.

The registry has been developed as part of the government’s Vaccine Taskforce, in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS Digital, and the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Governments. The registry is also collaborating with ZOE, the company behind the Covid-19 symptom study who have 3.5 million UK users of their app, to work together to enrol their volunteers onto vaccine trials.

It will help large numbers of people be recruited into the studies over the coming months, potentially leading to an effective vaccine being identified and made available to the UK public against coronavirus earlier. 

How does it work?

Working with the NHS, the aim is to recruit over half a million people onto the new COVID-19 vaccine research registry, which will allow people to be put in touch with the vaccine trials in the coming months. Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK, including both people with or without existing health conditions, to take part in vaccine studies, to make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone. 

The service is available to anyone aged 18 or over, living in the UK. To register, users need to fill in some personal and contact details, and answer a series of basic health screening questions on an NHS.UK website form. The service is highly secure, with personal data and permissions held in a NHS system managed by NHS Digital.

By registering through the service, users are not signing up to take part in a specific trial or study. Instead, researchers working on vaccine studies supported by the NIHR will be able to search for volunteers who have signed up to the service. Signing up is an individual choice.






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.