Research Design Service (RDS)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS) supports researchers to develop and design high quality research proposals for submission to NIHR and other national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research. There are ten regional services across England, view the map to find your local service.

The team in each RDS provides expert advice to researchers on all aspects of preparing grant applications for applied research in health and social care, including statistics, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, clinical trials, evidence synthesis, health economics, epidemiology, patient and public involvement, ethics and governance.

Public involvement and the Research Design Service

Within each RDS team at least one member of staff takes the lead for public involvement in research. They offer support to researchers and opportunities for members of the public to get involved with research.

Support for researchers

The public involvement advisors can advise on how to involve members of the public in research and support public involvement in the development of the grant application. This might include helping to decide how best to involve the public, providing funding, helping researchers make contact with relevant members of the public or facilitating meetings.

Opportunities for members of the public to get involved

Each RDS offers opportunities for members of the public to get involved. These might be:

  • peer reviewing research funding applications (sometimes called research proposals)
  • being linked with a research team to work with them on developing their research proposal
  • being part of an RDS public involvement group or team.

Examples of public involvement in the Research Design Service

The following examples provide more detail of how the RDS network supports public involvement in research: