RDS NW e-bulletin – May 2023

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RDS NW e-bulletin

May 2023


RDSBlog: Hot off the press! Resources from the RDS Social Care Research Grant Development and Writing Retreat now available

Introducing the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) social care resources collection, which includes recorded presentations from this year’s RDS Social Care Grant Development and Writing Retreat.

The resources offer a broad range of guidance, toolkits, webinar recordings, and top tips on design, research context, and topic themes to support the development of your application.

Find out more about the success of the retreat and the feedback from retreat attendees.

Read the full blog here.



RDSresources host a growing collection of RDS developed resources aimed at helping you produce the best possible applied health and social care research funding applications.

Below we have highlighted some of the recently added and highly recommended resources that are now available.

Social Care Research Collections

Four new collections of resources aimed at helping you with your social care research funding application have been made available recently:

Translational Research Application Manager Toolkit

The RDS Translational Research Application Manager (TRAM) Toolkit has been developed as a roadmap to assist researchers navigating the many elements of an NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Award (PDA) application to ensure they meet the funder’s requirements.

Much of this content is also relevant to i4i Connect and Challenge awards and other similar translation research funding streams.

RDS Research Impact Guide

This Impact Guide can be used to help you understand impact and consider some of the more practical measures that can be used when undertaking research.

The overall aim is to ensure that impact planning, knowledge mobilisation and implementation issues are considered and embedded into the research design and application development process. This then ensures that the planned/intended impacts can be realised, both during and at the end of the research project.

Community Engagement Toolkit

Inclusive community engagement means more than ‘involving’ individuals and representatives as members of research steering groups and advisory groups. It is about planning research in the community, and with the community the research seeks to benefit. It seeks to include people with diverse experiences and perspectives who may have unmet needs that have not yet have been represented in research priority setting, decision making or planning.

Whilst individual relationships are important, the emphasis is upon building alliances with wider communities. There needs to be commitment from the outset to build collaborative and mutually beneficial research partnerships which extend beyond individual projects. It is about engaging early and investing and agreeing mutually beneficial outcomes to support the project and beyond.

This community engagement toolkit will help you achieve this by highlighting 10 guiding principles.

The difference between public involvement and qualitative methods

This RDS aims to clarify the distinction between public involvement and qualitative research by outlining key differences between a qualitative focus group and a public involvement workshop.

It provides an overview of how public involvement and qualitative research methods can support the development of health and social care funding applications. It suggests how public involvement activities and qualitative research might be written into funding applications to demonstrate embedded public involvement and collaborative research.

View this guide.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit

This resource has been developed to support researchers to better understand how to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research design and to meet the NIHR’s EDI requirements.

The toolkit advocates for best practice which goes beyond the NIHR’s current requirements.

The toolkit is structured around eight domains, or areas of the research design journey, stretching from inception through to dissemination, implementation and impact. Some domains will be more pertinent to a particular funding application than others. You may wish to dip into selected sections or to download the toolkit and read it cover-to-cover.

Its main authors are Dr Rebecca Barnes and Dr Christopher Newby at RDS East Midlands, but it has been developed with valuable and broad input from the RDS EDI Group and other RDS and NIHR colleagues, researchers and public contributors.

Particular thanks go to public contributors, Pam Rees, Cecily Henry, Beauty Tshuma and to RDS East Midlands’ Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Naina Patel, for their commitment to and support of this work.

Access the EDI Toolkit.


Studies Within a Trial and Studies Within a Review are now available to researchers across multiple NIHR programmes

Studies within a trial (SWATs) and studies within a review (SWARs)  are now available to researchers across multiple NIHR funding programmes, with a streamlined application process, increased budgets and the potential to improve how future studies take place.

Research studies play a central role in improving health and care in the UK but such studies can be inefficient. Reasons for study inefficiencies include the complex and unpredictable nature of some studies, but more commonly, the lack of evidence to support processes and decision-making.

After a successful pilot conducted in the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, the NIHR is now encouraging applicants to embed methodological sub-studies, up to a maximum funding of £30,000, into applications to the following programmes:

To increase the evidence base, the NIHR encourages researchers to embed a study evaluating alternative ways of undertaking a study e.g. public partnerships, participant recruitment, retention, data collection, evidence synthesis methodology, and engaging with key stakeholders to promote the uptake and use of research by evidence users, to provide evidence about how they can improve the way they perform that process. They welcome proposals that include embedded studies aimed at improving the successful completion of studies.


NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Under-represented disciplines and specialisms highlight notice: Methodologists

The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme invites applications from methodologists to the second highlight notice of a series addressing NIHR strategy to strengthen careers of under-represented disciplines and specialisms.

All applications to this call should be led by a research methodologist.  The NIHR will specifically consider the following disciplines:

  • medical statistics
  • health economics
  • clinical trial design
  • operational research
  • modelling
  • bioinformatics
  • qualitative research
  • mixed methods
  • epidemiology

Where appropriate and justified it is acceptable for the application to be led by a lead together with a joint lead applicant. Lead/joint lead applicants who are early career researchers will be considered favourably by the committee.

While there is flexibility on application design and topic area provided it is within RfPB remit, the NIHR anticipates applications will broadly fall within the following types:

  1. methods research applications submitted by a methodologist lead applicant plus wider team, as appropriate
  2. health research, public health research, and social care research applications submitted by a methodologist lead/joint lead

More information on the call can be found here.

The deadline for applications is 13 September 2023 at 1.00 pm.


NIHR Academy expands portfolio of career support for health and social care professionals

The NIHR Academy has announced new initiatives that will expand its provision of training and career development opportunities for health and social care professionals. These include more opportunities at all levels of a research career from undergraduate through to  postdoctoral. There will also be more support for those in underrepresented professions, to ensure a diverse range of people enter and are successful in a career in research.

In particular, the NIHR Academy wants to attract more nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and other registered health professionals, public health and social care practitioner academics, and those working in the fields of multiple long term conditions and dementia. This builds upon the strategic areas of focus set out within Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter, which sets out NIHR’s operational priorities.

In some cases existing NIHR Academy programmes will be expanded through increased investment, building on the success of these established programmes. New funding awards will also be created.

Find out more about this new initiative.


New long-COVID Greater Manchester research-ready community

Respiratory consultant Professor Nawar Bakerly who is leading long COVID research in Greater Manchester has been working with our Research for the Future team to develop a research-ready community of people to take part in research into long COVID.

Research for the Future’s unique consent-for-approach database has been updated to collect information about people’s COVID status, recovery, and whether they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine.

To date, over 3,000 people have opted into this cohort, two-thirds of which have previously tested positive with more than a quarter of those stating they hadn’t fully recovered within 12 weeks.

Research for the Future is perfectly situated to help support your research into:

  • the after-effects of the pandemic
  • better treatment options
  • services to support people living with long COVID
  • why some groups of people are at greater risk of coronavirus infection or developing symptoms of long COVID

For more information about support available to researchers, please visit the Research for the Future website.


Events and webinars


NIHR funding opportunities

Find more NIHR funding opportunities here.


Always check with the event organisers/funder for latest information.