Call for Public Reviewers for the Research Design Service North West pre-submission review panel for NIHR funded grants

Find out more about becoming a public reviewer on the Research Design Service North West’s pre-submission review panels.

What is the Research Design Service?

The Research Design Service (RDS) provides advice to researchers focusing on health and social care research. Researchers can obtain support on:

  • formulating research questions e.g.: literature reviewing database searches
  • identifying and applying to appropriate funding sources
  • contacting potential collaborators
  • facilitating public involvement in research design.

The service is national but organised by region. This call is for public contributors in the North West of England to work with the Research Design Service North West (RDS NW) which covers Greater Manchester, Mersey and Cheshire and Lancashire and South Cumbria.

What are the pre-submission review panels for NIHR funded grants?

As part of the support that it provides to researchers, the RDS NW has recently set up pre-submission review panels for grants being submitted for NIHR funding or nationally competitive medical research charity funding.

These panels provide researchers who have received advice from the RDS NW with the opportunity to obtain feedback and review of their draft grant applications from a team of senior research advisers who work with the RDS NW.

The hope is that this review process prior to the final submission of the application will improve the quality of the research proposals, be helpful for researchers, and hopefully improve the likelihood of success of the application.  As patient and public involvement is a key element of NIHR research, we would also like to include two public reviewers in the pre-submission panel.

What is the role of the public contributor?

The public contributors undertaking this role will need to:

  1. read a proportion of the grant applications submitted and review the public involvement elements of the applications using a proforma to assess the quality of patient and public involvement in the grant applications
  2. attend a one-day panel meeting, three times a year, to discuss the applications.

For this role, it would be useful to have experience as a public contributor to research and if possible, some experience of being a public member of a grant review panel, although this experience is not essential. Ideally, those interested in the role should not be a current member of a funding panel.

What support is available for this role?

The public reviewers will receive support from the RDS NW Specialist Public Involvement Adviser for Greater Manchester. This will involve a one hour telephone briefing prior to the review panel and one hour telephone debrief following the panel.

The public reviewers will also be strongly encouraged to undertake the short NIHR course on Public Reviewing in the NIHR available here.

The public reviewers will receive compensation for their time for preparing and attending the panel meetings, around two days per panel meeting, and reasonable travel expenses e.g. childcare or carer fees will be covered.


Please contact Suzanne Parsons, Specialist Public Involvement Adviser for Greater Manchester on or telephone 0161 276 6614.

Suzanne and other members of the RDS NW Public Involvement Team will conduct an informal telephone interview with those who express interest in this role.