RDS South Central can offer expert support and advice on all aspects of designing and developing applications for NIHR funding, including plain English summaries – please complete our online “Request for Support” form to gain access to our advice.

Request support here


Are you interested in applying to the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme? If you are, then register for our RfPB information and workshop event!

  • Details: An exciting free to attend all-day event, funded and hosted by the NIHR Research Design Service South Central (RDS SC), on how to prepare a research proposal for the NIHR RfPB Programme. This event will bring together researchers for a morning of presentations, followed by an afternoon workshop session with RDS Advisers and the Programme Speakers, who will answer questions from applicants and provide hints, tips and advice.
  • When: Thursday 29 June 2017
  • Where: The Princess Royal Gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyards, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ
  • Find out more


Do you have a great idea for research in health or health services?  Would your team benefit from protected time and expert support to develop your idea into a competitive funding application?  If “yes”, apply to attend the Research Design Service South West and South Central Residential Grant Writing Retreat 2017!

Title / area of focus: The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) South West and South Central Residential Grant Writing Retreat is an exceptional opportunity for researchers in health and health services to develop their research proposals in a supportive environment. Applications are invited from teams of three people, at least one of whom must be employed in the NHS within the South West or South Central regions.

The Residential Grant Writing Retreat will provide an ideal environment for teams to work intensively on their research proposals with support from RDS advisers who have a wide range of research skills and extensive experience of research design and grant writing.  Ideally, attending teams will have a mix of clinical and academic skills.

The Retreat will include:

  • daily seminars covering methodological issues and the craft of writing research proposals
  • working with the support of the Retreat’s adviser team of experienced and qualified researchers
  • working within your own team to complete assignments
  • preparation and delivery of presentations about your project
  • facing and learning from critical review.

If you think your research team would benefit from protected time and expert support to develop a research proposal, visit the Retreat website or contact your local office for further information: RDS South West (01823 342792) / RDS South Central (023 8120 4778).

When: From Monday 4 September 2017 to Friday 8 September 2017

Where: Dillington House, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 9DT

Cost: £2,850 for a team of three

Deadline for proposals: 13:00 on Wednesday 26 April 2017.

Find out more


Are you applying for NIHR funding? If you are please take a look at our free events

RDS South Central is running  free lunchtime events at the Queen Alexandra Hospital and University of Portsmouth. The event is for researchers, academics or clinicians interested in applying for health and social care research funding from NIHR. It is appropriate for both experienced and novice researchers alike.

Talks will cover:

  • demystifying NIHR funding
  • understanding the remit of the main NIHR funding streams
  • tips for completing a successful funding application
  • How the RDS can support your application.
  • Lunch will be provided and there will be an opportunity for networking.

University of Portsmouth — 24th April 2017 (10am-1pm) Venue: University of Portsmouth, Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth,  PO1 2DJ. To book a place click here


Are you thinking of applying for NIHR funding for research involving social care?  If you are, then register for our half day training event!

Applying for NIHR Social Care Research Funding

  • Time and Date: 10:30 to 14:00 on Thursday 23 March 2017
  • Location: University of Southampton Sports Ground, Wide Lane, Eastleigh, SO50 5PE
  • Details: An interactive and free to attend short masterclass, hosted by the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) South Central (SC), on how to improve your chances of success when applying for NIHR research funding that includes an element of social care research. The NIHR is keen to encourage applications for research involving social care.  We have organised this event to provide information to attendees on what the NIHR is looking for in social care focused applications.
  • Who should attend: Our event is aimed at researchers, social care workers, clinicians and academics from across the South Central (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Oxfordshire), South East (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) and South West (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire) regions who are thinking of applying for NIHR funding on a health related application which involves aspects of social care research.
  • Find out more and Register here


Are you interested in applying to the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme?  If you are, check out the HS&DR Programme’s “Tips for Applicants”!

Covering such topics as “Importance to the NHS”, “Assessing the problem to be investigated”, “Planning your study” and “The research team”, this two page summary details a number of tips for success that should be adhered to when applying to the HS&DR Programme.

Find out more


Are you interested in learning about the importance and benefits of including meaningful Patient and Public Involvement in research?  If you are, read “Hear the patient voice: their perspectives speak loudly to trusts!”

  • This excellent article published in Health Service Journal and written by members of Research Design Service South Central, Solent NHS Trust, Portsmouth University, and Portsmouth Hospitals Trust explores the purpose of PPI in research and the role of the PPI Officer in bridging the gap between research teams and people with a lived experience of a condition, service or medicine.  The article presents case studies that highlight the benefits and importance of PPI and it concludes that ‘changing the culture of “we will do to you” to “we will do this together” needs to begin at all levels of academic and healthcare structures.’
  • Find out more


Are you wondering how involving patients and members of the public in the design of your research can help your proposal?  If you are, read this editorial which highlights some benefits of involving patients in research!

  • In this editorial, the authors reflect on the impact of their own patient involvement activity at the Musculoskeletal Research Unit in Bristol.  They seek to involve patients in research design and conduct through a patient forum: Patient Experience Partnership in Research (PEP-R).  PEP-R sessions are interactive, training and support is provided, and patients are compensated for their time and travel expenses.  The authors asked patients and researchers to complete a questionnaire in order to evaluate the impact of their patient involvement activity.  Key findings showed that:
    • Patients described their interest and learning about the topics and research in general.  They particularly valued feedback about how PEP-R’s input had shaped studies.
    • Researchers identified the benefits of patients’ views on the importance, relevance and feasibility of projects.  They welcomed the opportunity to speak to an interested and knowledgeable group, stressing the importance of early involvement.
  • Find out more


The RDS can help with patient involvement: expert advice on how to involve patients in the design and implementation of research programmes comes as part of our support package to researchers.

Get more Top Tips for researchers, plus details of the latest NIHR funding calls and other opportunities, by subscribing to our weekly newsletter at rds.sc@nihr.ac.uk

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