The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS)

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) offers support across England, providing design and methodological support to health researchers who are developing funding applications. RDS North West (RDS NW) supports research teams to develop and submit high quality applied health and social care grant applications to NIHR and other national peer-reviewed funding programmes.

We offer high quality and responsive specialist advice on all aspects of an application including:

  • designing a research study
  • research methods (qualitative and quantitative)
  • identifying suitable sources of funding
  • involving patients and public in research design
  • identifying potential academic, clinical and lay collaborators
  • refining the research question
  • medical statistics
  • health economics
  • advice on common pitfalls
  • interpreting feedback from funding committees.

Our advice is confidential and free of charge. Researchers should contact us as soon as possible in the planning stage to benefit from ongoing help and advice from idea development to application submission.

If you are a researcher who would like help to increase your chances of submitting a successful application, please contact your nearest regional service at or visit the RDS NW website at