NIHR Research Design Service charter



The Research Design Service (RDS) charter sets out the quality and scope of advice offered by our design service. It also lists the expectations we have from researchers accessing our advice.

RDS charter 2018 FINAL

Helping us to help you

You can expect to gain access to a professional service in a timely manner. You may approach the RDS at any stage of development of a research proposal: from simply wanting to discuss an initial idea through to requesting input on a specific issue relating to a well-developed proposal. You are welcome to request support via our regional websites, telephone, email, post or in person.

We will:

  • offer professional advice on developing a grant application, free of charge
  • allocate a RDS lead to provide support and guidance
  • provide feedback on draft proposals in a timely manner using face-to-face meetings or other forms of communication as appropriate.
  • treat all discussions our and the information provided with appropriate confidentiality
  • facilitate the identification of a suitable funding stream for your project
  • facilitate the identification of suitable collaborators
  • give you access to a range of research support materials and signpost to further helpful resources.

We will not:

  • help develop projects where there is no intention of submitting an application for peer review to a recognised funding stream
  • support applications that are not applying for funding from national peer-reviewed funding agencies
  • provide supervision or informal support for students
  • carry out any of the research (unless we agree to be a co-applicant, where appropriate costs are included in the grant).

We expect that investigators will:

  • approach us in a timely manner
  • acquaint themselves with the scope and eligibility of the targeted funding stream
  • work closely with their research team and will include them in discussions
  • consider our advice carefully
  • accurately reflect, in the application, the support that RDS has given.

The RDS employs highly experienced public health, health services and social care researchers.

The advice and guidance we provide is aimed at increasing the quality of your funding application.

All documents submitted to funding bodies remain the responsibility of the applicants.

Download a copy of the charter here.

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