Research Design Advisory Panel

What is a Research Design Advisory Panel (RDAP)?

An RDAP is an informal meeting between you and a team of RDS SC advisers where you can discuss your research idea, your protocol or your draft grant application.

The aim of an RDAP is to increase your proposal’s chances of success by providing input from experienced professionals working across clinical and academic disciplines. It is your opportunity to have a constructive and supportive discussion about your proposal with a knowledgeable multidisciplinary panel.

An effective RDAP can make a significant difference to your grant application, highlighting potential areas for development and confirming those aspects which are already robust.

Who is eligible for an RDAP?

The RDS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Due to our remit from the NIHR, we are only able to support researchers who meet the following criteria:

  • You must be developing an application for funding for applied health or social care research
  • We give priority to researchers applying to NIHR funding streams
  • We will support other applicants, provided that you are applying to a national, peer reviewed funding programme that benefits health or social care

Please see the “Nature of support provided” and “Eligibility” sections of our Standard Operating Procedure, as well as our Charter, for further details of what kinds of projects we can and cannot provide support for.

What happens at an RDAP?

The RDAP is an informal discussion about your research project. RDS advisors may ask questions to the research team to clarify aspects of the study so that they can fully tailor the advice they give to the specifics of the project. The research team also have the opportunity to ask questions. Advice and ideas on the design of the research are shared with the research team. The types of advice given may include:

  • Which funding stream the project is suitable for
  • Which patient groups the research team may wish to get in contact with
  • Which statistical methods are most appropriate
  • Which research method is best
  • How best to answer the research question which is being proposed
  • Recruitment rates possible

How do I apply for an RDAP?

The first step is to submit a request for support to your local RDS team using the online application form request support. Once received, you will be allocated a Lead Research Adviser, who will talk to you about arranging an RDAP.

When should I apply for an RDAP?

RDAPs are carried out at the earliest possible date to ensure that all experts have maximum opportunity to influence the design of the research. Some researchers come to the RDS with very clear ideas about the design of their study and just need specific input (such as how best to involve patients), whilst others may come with just the idea of what they want to study – either way, the earlier the researcher can submit a request for support the better!

Do I have to implement the advice I receive?

You will receive advice from experienced professionals working across clinical and academic disciplines, and so we hope that the advice you receive is helpful and beneficial. However, you are not required to take all of the advice given by the RDS.