Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

Going the Extra Mile: public involvement workshop report

  Created on Wednesday, 22 Feb 2017. Posted in Public Involvement

In December 2016, the Central Commissioning Facility hosted a workshop that began to explore this in relation to the NIHR's 10 year vision and ambitions for public involvement, as set out in Going the Extra Mile.

The workshop report:

  • Outlines the focus of the day

  • highlights some of the issues raised in discussion

  • provides links to access all the slide sets and reports from the day.


The Research Ethics Guidebook

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017. Posted in Toolkit/Database

The Research Ethics Guidebook is designed as a resource for social science researchers - those early in their careers, as well as more experienced colleagues. It aims to help researchers find their way through the variety of regulatory processes and procedures that can apply to social science research - signposting to more detailed information along the way, and acting as a prompt for reflection and questioning at all stages of the research process.

Covers the following areas:

  • Research topics and funders
  • Writing your proposal
  • Building ethics into the research design
  • Receiving funding
  • Permission and approval
  • Applying for ethics approval
  • Ethics committee responses
  • Conducting your research
  • Reporting and dissemination
  • Signposting to other resources

Guidance for Embedding Patient and Public Involvement Champions within Applied Health Research Programmes

  Created on Monday, 20 Feb 2017. Posted in Public Involvement

This Guidance has been written by CLAHRC Wessex for:

  • researchers looking for a blueprint to support the embedding of patient and public involvement within their applied health research and implementation programmes
  • experienced patient and public contributors wishing to assume a more strategic role within programmes of applied health research
  • health research and implementation organisations (including managers and patient and public involvement leads) seeking to enhance their work with a sustainable model of public involvement

Fresh off the digital press: The Researcher - Spring issue all about 'maintaining momentum'!

  Created on Thursday, 16 Feb 2017. Posted in News Items

This Spring issue is all about how we maintain momentum. Preparing research funding applications, executing the research plan and disseminating the findings all takes a lot of time and motivation, years of time and motivation!

  • Need some encouragement, then take a look at the top 5 tips for maintaining motivation to help you keep on track, whilst Rekha Patel humourously covers the arch-enemy of momentum -  procrastination
  • Describing how you plan to disseminate your research findings is a very important feature even at the design stage of your project, so don't forget to take a look at the power of the poster and the wonky car article and creative minds which offer alternative ways of presenting your research message.
  • Read Simon's story about his journey from public involvement to researcher, Lesley's challenges to becomes a clinical research nurse and Martin's drive to take pharmacy into research.

And after all that if you're feeling inspired to start your own research career you'll need to read all about how Health Education England have created a clinical scholar programme to help medics and non-medical professions take the next step which can boost your chances of getting an NIHR fellowship!

Of course you'll need a little help with designing your research and planning your applicaiton so the Research Design Service is here to support you. Take a look at Claire's article to see how we can help and don't forget to contact us (the sooner the better)!

Co-production: Old wine in new bottles or vintage public involvement?

  Created on Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017. Posted in Public Involvement

Co-production is a concept which has been used to describe a partnership between public and service providers as they jointly design and/or improve health and social care services.

This article (exert from Involve newsletter) reports on the outcomes from a round table event, attended by public and NIHR staff to explore various views, thoughts and opinions on the question of ‘what is co-production in research?’

Health research has two sides and one of them is you

  Created on Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017. Posted in Public Involvement


The NIHR has launched a new #twosides campaign urging patients and the public to get actively involved in health and social care research which affects the lives of millions of people. 

Featuring an iconic split face image, the #twosides campaign highlights ways for people who aren’t medical or academic professionals to make their voices heard. Links are offered to opportunities to share patient and carer experiences and ideas for making a difference to the health and wellbeing of families, friends, colleagues and communities.

  • Suggest a research question
  • Influence decision making
  • Join a study team
  • Become a study participant

Elevator Pitch

  Created on Tuesday, 07 Feb 2017. Posted in Design Tips

Elevator pitches are becoming increasingly popular as a way to promote and sell your research idea. The pitches tell a story. Our brains love stories as they are easier to remember, they pull people in and show them what benefits your research idea can offer. Elevator pitches can also provide a test for the integrity of your idea. If you struggle to formulate your idea in a concise simple way then maybe you need to work on it some more. You are the expert on your research idea and you need to convey the importance and the benefits that will arise from the research to extremely busy funding panel members who may only spend a short time reading your proposal. Apart from NIHR’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme no other funder currently demands an elevator type presentation, but you can still use the elevator pitch technique to formulate the most important elements that need to go into your plain English summary.

Traditionally an elevator pitch contains a complicated, nuanced idea, pitched into a 60 second simple, memorable and convincing speech.

Goal: The goal of the elevator pitch is to generate interest and create a longer conversation about your idea. For funding applicants it is to keep the funding panel interested in your research and moving it up the ranking into the fundable projects zone.


  • It should be delivered in the manner you normally talk, so it doesn’t appear forced, but it also needs to be practised. 60 seconds may be a short time for the speaker but can seem like a long time to the listener!
  • It’s always good to pose questions in the pitch as it invites to both a longer conversation and also engages the listener to think about your idea.
  • Pause – give the listener a chance to interject

Key ingredients:

  • Include only the most important things that will make the listener want to hear more (including all the information about an idea will confuse and likely annoy the listener)
  • Show why you are worth investing by:
    • Identifying the need – what problem exits for whom. In 2 sentences highlight the problem and focus on the benefits and results your idea will bring to solve it.
    • Identify your USP (unique selling point) use a simple, short and focused statement to talk about 1 or at the most 2 key features of the idea that will impact on the problem.
  • Try using one of the following formats for your pitch:
    • Problem / Why it matters / Potential solutions / Benefits of fixing it (Nature 494, 137-138 (2013))
    • Context / Importance / Problem / What happens next

Audience: Know your audience and develop your pitch to suit. Often funding panels or fellow researchers will have some basic knowledge but they won’t be experts in your field. The public on the other hand will need a much simpler explanation.

  • Grandmother speech (or 14 year old child speech): Put it in words that they will understand, you want to engage them not baffle them! This type of speech is used with the media. If your research is funded, the plain English summary will be published on a variety of websites, without the rest of this application form.
  • Job interview speech: This audience will have a basic understanding of your field but won’t be experts. You need to be engaging, relevant and show the impact to the wider world to catch their attention. Most funding panel members are likely to be in this category, they will be reading the plain English summary first to get the gist of your idea. You want them to be so interested after reading this that they spend time reading the rest of the application!
  • Fellow researcher speech: This is the audience that you will meet at conferences, experts in your field but not in your specific area. You need to describe quickly what you do over coffee to gain their interest. This type of elevator speech may come in useful when you are looking to find other collaborators to enhance your team.

Tips for success:

  • Keep it short (less is more) – concise
  • avoid jargon and abbreviations
  • be enthusiastic, but don’t over promise - compelling
  • relate to the bigger picture, something that your audience can appreciate or relate to
  • avoid information overload
  • use analogies and/or strong images
  • relate your research to something the listener knows and/or cares about
  • practice your speech at any opportunity

Here are two YouTube examples of research pitches that won prizes and one about the power of stories:

Public Health in the East Midlands (Martin Hindle)

  Created on Tuesday, 07 Feb 2017. Posted in Toolkit/Database

Public Health England (PHE) released the health profiles for 2016. It is an excellent resource which holds a huge amount of valuable health and socioeconomic statistics for England. Martin Hindle takes a closer look at the East Midlands data in the EMAHSN blog.

Integrated Clinical Academic Programme Clinical Lecturership and Senior Clinical Lectureship awards extended to include Professional Doctorate graduates!

  Created on Monday, 06 Feb 2017. Posted in Funding

The eligibility for the Integrated Clinical Academic Programme Clinical Lecturership and Senior Clinical Lectureship awards has been extended to include Professional Doctorate graduates, providing they can evidence the quality and proportionality of research education, training and experience gained within their Higher Education Institution (HEI) Eligibility criteria.

Applicants will need to gain support from their HEI to confirm that they do meet these criteria and should contact  before proceeding with an application, as each case will be reviewed on an individual basis.


Latest podcast talks about clinical research culture

  Created on Monday, 30 Jan 2017. Posted in Literature

The latest NIHR podcast is entitled ‘The culture of research’ and is a 10-12 minute podcast interview with Catherine Joynson, Assistant Director at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Catherine talks about the culture of scientific research, leading on from the Nuffield report published in 2015.

Across the series of 7 podcasts, listeners will hear the thoughts and opinions of a whole range of different people involved in clinical research. The podcast series also includes a virtual journal club, which involves the discussion of a recent, open-access paper to be discussed.

  • Podcast 1 - The Nurse’s Changing Role in Clinical Research with Dr Susan Hamer 
  • Podcast 2 - Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses with Prof Mike Clarke
  • Podcast 3 - Challenges and Opportunities in Large-scale Trials wit Prof David
  • Podcast 4 - A Clinical Trial Recruitment with Prof Shaun Treweek
  • Podcast 5 - Clinical Research in the NHS with Dr William van'tHoff