Data protection, privacy and cookie use

Please note this statement has been updated from version 4.0 to version 4.1.  This update includes addtional information on cookies used by our website video player.

The Research Design Service North West Data Protection and Privacy Statement

Research Design Service North West (RDS NW) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to provide research design advice in health and social care research in the North West of England.

The RDS NW complies fully with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The RDS NW is hosted by Lancaster University (the data controller) and has staff at a number of organisations, a full list can be found here, who may also process and store your personal information. The legal basis for collecting your information is ‘Contract.’ The RDS NW is not able to provide you with advice and evaluate the service you have received unless we can contact you.

When you contact RDS NW, we may ask you for your contact details, which include your name and a method of contact such as phone number, email address or your address. The RDS NW stores this personally identifiable information securely and only members of the RDS NW staff are able to access this information. No personally identifiable information provided to the RDS NW will be passed on or otherwise distributed to any third party (any organisation or person outside the RDS NW) by RDS NW staff, except where individual consent has been sought and granted or there is an overriding statutory obligation to do so or as outlined below.

All information that you provide us with will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Your contact details are collected to facilitate our advice provision and so we can contact you to evaluate the service you have received.

As a recipient of support from NIHR Research Design Service North West (RDS NW) we will collect information about the advice we provide to you and the research funding application you may subsequently submit. This information will be used by the Research Design Service to give appropriate advice, but may also be shared with the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) to evaluate the management and delivery of the RDS NW. The CCF is part of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). All information will be held securely and treated in the strictest confidence by the RDS NW, CCF and NIHR.

The NIHR privacy policy includes further information including ways NIHR may use your data, contact details and details of your individual rights regarding how your data will be used. This includes details of the information collected by NIHR, why it is collected, how long it will be retained and how the information will be used.

Sharing of personal information is covered by an information sharing agreement/contract between RDS NW and the NIHR.

Sharing of personal information with the NIHR will only be carried out for those whose advice commenced from 1 April 2019.

RDS NW staff may also ask you for other details that may include, for example, your occupation and the organisation at which you are employed. These details will be used for various analyses of the service and in reports to other organisations. Information presented from the analyses will be anonymous and will not be linked to any personally identifiable information, with the exception of the NIHR as described in the paragraphs above.

You will be asked to let us know about outcomes of your research application; we may contact you for this information. All publically funded projects, funding panel minutes and decisions are made publically available and all successful applications are made available via the Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC). If we are unable to obtain an outcome from you then we will use publically available sources, such as Europe PMC or information gained from funders to determine an application’s outcome.

You may also be asked to share with us any documents that you have concerning the funding application that you are seeking advice on, such as draft applications.  If these contain personal details of other people, please inform them that you are sharing their details with us.

We keep your personal information, as well as links to previous advice, to allow us to follow up on advice and to facilitate any future advice that you may require.

Additional information that we collect

Information collected by RDS NW hosted websites and cookie use

Google Analytics and cookie use

RDS NW hosted websites may use Google Analytics to allow the RDS NW to understand how visitors interact with the website in order to improve and tailor the website to its audience.

Google Analytics uses traffic log cookies (more information on cookies here) to gain information about the use of pages on our website. We use the information from cookies to generate reports on the usage of our website, which are used for evaluation and analysis. The purpose is to improve our website by tailoring it to the needs of users. While your IP address is passed to Google, no data specific to any identifiable user is retained. For more details on the information collected by Google Analytics, including its use of cookies, please visit the Safeguarding your Data page. More information about cookies used by Google Analytics can be found on the Google Analytics Website.

To provide website visitors with more choice on how their data is collected by Google Analytics, Google have developed the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. Installing the add-on allows users to stop the browser sending information about their visit to Google Analytics. Further detail here.

On first visiting this website, you are asked if you accept the usage of cookies by this website. In order to record your response so that you will not be asked again, one further cookie called ‘catAccCookie’ is stored on your computer.

The video player we provide on our website is customisable. In order for your settings to be remembered, they are stored in a cookie called ‘Able-Player’. This cookie is not used to identify you.

If a log in is provided on an RDS NW hosted websites and you log in, cookies will be used to allow the log in to function. Such cookies will be deleted when you log out.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. You should be aware that this might prevent you from taking full advantage of this website. If you are unsure how to do this, use your favourite search engine to look this up using the term ‘declining cookies’ with your browser name, or contact your local IT support for advice.

Log information

When you visit any of our web pages/sites, we will collect log information that includes your IP address, browser type and device type as well as details of the pages you visit and the pages that you were referred from.

If you have a log in account on an RDS NW hosted website and you log in, the log information will be associated with your account.

This is collected for the purpose of both the prevention and detection of fraudulent access and misuse.

This information is not passed to any third party (any organisation or person outside the RDS NW) by RDS NW staff, except where individual consent has been sought and granted or there is an overriding statutory obligation to do so.

Third party content used on RDS NW websites

RDS NW websites may use some third party content to display relevant information. Third parties include for example Twitter and Google (Maps and YouTube). When visiting RDS NW websites these third party websites may collect information such as your IP address, device type, browser type and the page you have been referred from. They may also use cookies. For full details, you will need to visit the third party’s privacy policies. In the case of Twitter, this can be found here. For Google this can be found on their Maps terms of service page here or on their YouTube Policies and Safety page here.

RDS NW mailing list

When you sign up to our mailing list either via our website form, advice request form or at an event, we will collect information about you that will include your email address and may include your name and organisation.

You sign-up to receive, by email, information and news about the RDS NW and other information of relevance. Your e-mail address is collected and stored to allow us to send you the emails.  Your name and organisation are collected to prevent misuse of our email sign-up.

You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing We will then delete your e-mail address from the mailing list.  We will not share your email address with anyone outside the RDS NW, unless you have consented for us to do so or there is an overriding statutory obligation to do so. The mailing list is securely hosted by Lancaster University.

Retention of your personal information

Any personal information collected by the RDS NW will be deleted at the latest one year from end of our contract (currently one year from 1/10/2023) unless the information relates to a financial transaction when we are obliged to retain it for up to seven years for auditing purposes.

How to contact us

If you wish to contact the RDS NW to ensure that your contact details are correct and up-to-date, to ask for your contact information to be removed from our records or if you require any further information please contact RDS NW at:

NIHR Research Design Service North West, Division of Health Research, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YG.

Telephone 01524 593209, E-mail

You can also contact Lancaster University’s Data Protection Officer at:

Mike Abbotts, Information Governance Manager, Department of Strategic Planning and Governance, University House, Lancaster University, LA1 4YW

Telephone 01524510841, Email Michael Abbotts

Making a complaint

Should you have any complaint about the way that RDS NW processes your personal information you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner by visiting their website here  or by writing to the Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner, Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Changes to this data protection and privacy statement

If we decide to change our Data Protection and Privacy Statement, we will post details of any changes on the data protection section of the RDS NW website. This will help ensure that you are always aware of what personal information we collect, how we use it, how long we will retain it for and under what circumstances, if any, we share it with other parties.

Download our data protection and privacy statement

You can download a copy of our data protection and privacy statement here.

Date page updated: 11/03/2020.