020 7848 6782 | info@rdslondon.co.uk
Research Design Service London

Q: Can RDS London help me?

A: Yes, if you are applying for applied health and social care research funding in accordance with our charter:
We will:

  • offer professional advice on developing a grant application, free of charge
  • allocate a Research Design Service (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 our discussions 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.
Back to top

Q:  When should I contact RDS London? 

A:  Researchers who are at the initial stages of designing their study should contact RDS London as early as possible, ideally three to six months in advance of an intended submission date.  At this early stage we can also give guidance on incorporating Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) to substantiate the importance of the topic and the research question and then input into the study design. We may also be able to provide financial support for this activity from our Enabling Involvement Fund.

For those researchers who have more developed proposals, we recommend that you contact RDS London at least six to eight weeks before submission.  This will give us time to, firstly, provide an overall review of the study and then, secondly, provide advice from specialist methodologists and further PPI as needed.

We will usually not be able to provide support if researchers contact us less than four weeks before submission, as our experts are unlikely to be able to offer any meaningful support, especially because we may be already facilitating many other applications for that grant round.
The Service can help researchers at all stages of preparing grant applications, for example:
  • Providing advice on the quality, practicality and feasibility of research questions and methods
  • Ensuring that the research topic is within the scope of the chosen funding programme
  • Identifying enhancements to the proposal to improve chances of success
  • Advising of the common pitfalls encountered in funding applications
  • Dealing with feedback and failure from previous funding competitions
Back to top

Q:  I have filled in a support request form, what happens next?

A:  Once we have received your request for support, an administrator from your local team will be in touch to collect any additional information or documents that we need.  An RDS London adviser will then be allocated who will provide some initial broad feedback and co-ordinate the input of further expertise within RDS London.  In some instances we may need to arrange a meeting with you or your team to fully understand the project or issues being faced.  We may also need to share the documents that you have provided with RDS colleagues.  On all occasions we treat all discussions and the information that you provide with appropriate confidentiality. 
Back to top

Q: How many consultations can I have with RDS London?

A:  Our service is not limited to just one consultation and advisers may work with research teams or researchers over a period of many weeks to ensure that they have the greatest chances of success.
If you have previously used the services of RDS London, you are welcome to come back to us to request free support on any new funding applications - so why not get in touch with us again?
Back to top

Q: How can RDS London support me?

A:  RDS London can provide practical advice and guidance in the design of research grant applications.  We can also help identify suitable sources of funding for projects and foster collaborative links with established research groups in the capital. See our How can we help page for further details.

The RDS can provide post-funding advice to researchers experiencing difficulties and who received and acknowledged RDS support in their successful funding applications. This support may relate to study set-up, delivery or analysis, but will be advisory only, including signposting to other groups. The RDS cannot provide support to fill gaps in the expertise of research teams.

Back to top

Q:  What expert input can RDS London provide?

A:  RDS London is able to advise on all aspects of designing research, including: focusing an idea and refining a research question; study design; choice and application of appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods; advice on trials and economic evaluations; statistics; involving patients and the public in all stages of the research process.

Back to top

Q:  Can RDS London help with applications to the Medical Research Council (MRC)?

A:   Our advisers can provide wide ranging practical advice to those submitting applied health research proposals to recognised funding bodies, including the MRC.  However, they have limited experience of basic science / lab-based research, so are unlikely to be able to give the same level of expert advice in this area.  We also have a range of online resources, including guidelines on how to put together a good proposal, which may be useful.

Back to top

Q:  Do I have to pay for the support given by RDS London?

A:  No, advice is provided completely free of charge.  However, if you would like a member of the RDS team to be a co-applicant then their time must be appropriately costed into the bid so that their RDS commitments can be covered by other staff.

Back to top

Q:  Does RDS London run training courses? 

A:  RDS London does not have a research capacity building role (with the exception of supporting Fellowship applications) and does not provide formal training courses.  However we continually monitor the types of request that we receive and this information is used to identify generic issues which can then become the basis of online guidance or workshops

Back to top