Regional NIHR Research Design Service extends support to researchers as the NIHR RDS North East and North Cumbria.

From 1 October 2018, we are delighted to be extending our support to health and social care researchers across our region as the NIHR RDS North East and North Cumbria.

Led by Professor Helen Hancock, the RDS NENC is one of 10 regional RDSs across England, who support researchers to develop and design high quality research proposals for submission to NIHR funding programmes and other national open peer reviewed funding competitions for health and social care research.

The RDS NENC brings partnerships between Newcastle, Northumbria, Teesside, Durham and Cumbria Universities, South Tees Hospitals and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS

Foundation Trusts, Newcastle City Council, the NIHR Clinical Research Network NENC and other key NIHR Infrastructure across the region and nationally.

Renewed funding, for five years from 1 October 2018, will allow enhancement of RDS provision; advice is free and draws upon a unique breadth of experience and a proven track record in improving funding applications.

Prof Hancock said: I am delighted; our working together will bring new opportunities for researchers across the region as we capitalise on strengths within each of the partner organisations. Together we bring extensive expertise including acute care, mental health, public health and social care research.

To contact us please email, or phone (0191) 208 7000

For further information please click here

Find out more about the NIHR RDS and national RDS network.

NIHR announces £30 million of new funding to support mental health research worldwide

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced up to £30 million of new funding to support research into mental health in low- and middle-income countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in four people worldwide experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime, with around 450 million people currently experiencing such conditions. By 2020, mental health conditions will account for 15% of cases of disease in the world.  The new funding call, by NIHR’s Global Health Research Programme, will award Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding for mental health research to researchers in the UK and low- and middle-income countries working in partnership.

For further information please click here.

2018 RDS Blogs: From the RDS desk


Each month, the Research Design Service, brings you handy tips, insights and experiences of the funding application process. The blogs will touch on various themes in the design process and highlight what you need to know before you make a research application.  This month’s blog: Another day, another tip for social care (and beyond) research proposal.  As the NIHR sets its sights on funding research ideas from the social care front-line, what does this mean for researchers?  Read our latest blog and pick up some great tips on how to focus your application and think about the impact it will have on services, recipients and their careers.   Read the full blog here

Check out our previous blogs below:

October Another day, another tip for a social care (and beyond) research proposal

September Applying for NIHR Fellowships: An Insides View

August ‘Sometimes you just have to jump in and make a splash! Co-producing research with patients, carers and public partners

July Putting the Quality into Qualitative Research’

JuneThe Importance of the Research Question’

May ‘Time to Write?’

RDS NENC Monthly Newsletter

View our monthly newsletter for up to date news, events and funding calls – you can also subscribe here to receive news direct to your inbox.








New recommendations launched to improve researchers’ feedback to patients and the public shaping studies

A new guide has been launched to help researchers improve patient and public involvement (PPI) in their studies.

Guidance for Researchers: Feedback is a new tool providing researchers advice on the best ways to ensure patients, carers, service users and members of public contributing to their work are kept informed of research progress and their input is formally acknowledged.

For further information, please see here.  The guidance, which was also developed with the Research Design Service (RDS) and INVOLVE, is available online.

NIHR’s new social care call to launch in May

NIHR’s Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme will be launching an additional call this year, focusing on social care. This initiative particularly seeks to fund high quality research ideas which come from the front line of social care, and to support partnerships between social care researchers and practitioners. This call is aimed at researchers across a wide range of experience levels and will help to grow capacity in social care research. The new call will launch on 9 May and researchers will have until 4 July 2018 to apply.  Read more here

CRN NENC Newsroom

The NIHR Newsroom NENC is the Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria’s research news platform. CRN NENC stories include what’s happening around our region, opportunities, funding, awards, events and much more. The Newsroom also features news and information from our partner organisations across the region.

They have recently launched a Newsroom redesign with an improved look, making the design more modern, clear and fresh. Navigation has been improved to allow an easier user experience and an ‘Events’ page has been added to detail the events happening around the region.

Launch of new NIHR Fellowships programme

The NIHR has announced today some exciting new changes to its Fellowships Programme, which will take effect when it launches in October. The new programme will provide greater flexibility and expanded eligibility whilst retaining and maintaining its integrity as one of NIHR’s flagship programmes.  Details of the new programme can be found on the NIHR website, alongside accompanying Frequently Asked Questions.

Guidance on co-producing a research project

INVOLVE have published a guidance document with an aim to moving toward clarity about what is meant by co-producing  a research project. It explains the key principles and features of co-producing a research project and suggests ways to realise the principles and key features. Finally, the guidance outlines some of the key challenges that will need addressing, in further work, to aid those intending to take the co-producing research route.

Please visit the INVOLVE website to access the guidance document.

The story of RfPB

The Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme launched its first call in July 2006 with the aim of funding research projects in health and social care to improve, expand and strengthen the way that healthcare is delivered for patients, the public and the NHS. To date the RfPB Programme has provided a platform for research success nationwide, enabling teams to answer the questions that matter at the frontline of health and social care. Indeed, RfPB is the programme that will fund the inquisitive clinician, with or without extensive research experience, and at whatever career stage.

To learn more about the story of RfPB funding, please visit the NIHR website.

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR): Impact on research

The rules for handling information relating to research participants will change on 25 May 2018, when the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. The Health Research Authority has published detailed guidance about operational arrangements that researchers and organisations may need to put in place. The guidance is published as a living document that will be updated over the coming weeks. The HRA will update their website as updated versions are published.

For more information, please click here

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) – Health Research Authority: Researchers are ‘missing a trick’ with public involvement

Health researchers are ‘missing a trick’ by not demonstrating how patients and the public have contributed to the design and conduct of research, the HRA has said. Good public involvement can help smooth the process through ethical review, lead to better designed research and improve participant recruitment. But a new study has shown that researchers applying for approvals to start their projects rarely describe their public involvement in enough detail for those reviewing their application to know what involvement has happened and what difference this has made.

For more information, please click here

Would you be interested in testing out the new public involvement standards?

The Public Involvement Standards Development Partnership are seeking people, groups, teams, and organisations to be pilot sites  – please see the see the website for further information:

If you are based in the North East and are interested in being a pilot site, we would ask that you also contact Jo Lally ( to let her know so that RDS NENC can work with you to evaluate the implementation of the standards.