Research Design Service: West Midlands

About Us

Our RSS staff have a wide range of methodological expertise, including design and delivery of observational research and trials. We have methodological specialists in quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches together with specialists in health economics, evidence synthesis, health psychology, social and behavioural sciences, health service/implementation research, and ethics. Further areas of strength include embedding PPIE and achieving impact in research, reflecting priorities and expectations of NIHR schemes.

Our Trials Units have an established track record of offering the scientific, technical and computing expertise needed to support clinical trial research from conception to completion. Specialising in the development and delivery of high-quality multicentre clinical trials, designed to test new treatments and therapies, and other high-quality clinical studies, including large cohort studies. Our programmes of work draw together quantitative and qualitative methodologies in an evaluation framework. High quality, randomised evidence is generated to inform modern clinical and health care practice.

Contacting our RSS not only affords access to the wide range of expertise described above from staff directly funded by the RSS, but also from academic and clinical staff across our networks. Our specialist service offer comprises of the following areas:

Evidence synthesis: 

  • different approaches to evidence synthesis, including Cochrane reviews
  • qualitative synthesis
  • NIHR Evidence Synthesis Group
  • network and individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis

Innovative trial designs:

  • adaptive, multi-arm, multi-stage, and platform clinical trials
  • pilot/feasibility studies, qualitative elements of trials and process evaluation within trials
  • studies-within-a-trial (SWATs)
  • cluster and stepped-wedge trials
  • Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) Research FIRST supporting non-CTIMP research.

Analysis of complex data and electronic health records:

  • statistical analysis of complex data structures including graphical modelling using causal graphs for the analysis of multidimensional data such as real-world evidence in health services research
  • statistical analysis of longitudinal discrete and continuous data
  • electronic health records and registry data; specific expertise in the analysis of patient electronic health records (THIN/CPRD data)
  • data science and artificial intelligence

Test evaluation and prognosis research:

  • biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation Research Groups
  • design and analysis of diagnostic tests
  • clinical prediction models and other prognosis research

Patient-reported outcomes:

  • Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes
  • Biostatistics Group with specialist knowledge of psychometrics

Delivering clinical trial studies in specific areas and settings:

  • multiple long-term conditions
  • surgery
  • trauma
  • acute medicine
  • paediatrics
  • primary care
  • emergency and critical care
  • women’s health and in children
  • cancer, including paediatric cancer
  • physiotherapy and observational studies in MSK health and pain
  • design and development of technological innovations for the recruitment of participants and data collection in primary care settings

PPIE, and Impact:

  • expert PPIE advice, facilitation and monitoring of best practices
  • co-production with inclusive patient and public involvement in all activities and impact
  • building pathways to impact and developed implementation trials

Implementation research:

  • implementation/organisational science and behavioural change

To access our RSS, please use this link Support Request Form  to go to the enquiry form and let us have some details about yourself and your research support needs