Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

New framework for UK health and social care research launched

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Guidance

This policy framework sets out 19 principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research in the UK. 

These principles protect and promote the interests of patients, service users and the public in health and social care research, by describing ethical conduct and proportionate, assurance-based management of health and social care research, so as to support and facilitate high-quality research in the UK that has the confidence of patients, service users and the public.

Launch of prestigious fellowship schemes leading to Masters level opportunities

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Funding

There will be two prestigious schemes open to senior NIHR postholders which will create up to 15 Masters level training opportunities. The Fellowships may appeal to those early in their postgraduate career, or people returning to the workplace after a career break.

  • The Research Methods Fellowships and Internships scheme aims to support the development of those with expertise in research methods including medical statistics, health economics, clinical trial design, operational research, and modelling.
  • The Systematic Reviews Fellowships scheme provides the necessary support and training to help individuals to contribute to systematic reviews relevant to the NIHR.

These awards will be advertised in Spring.


Update on payment for involvement in research - an agreed statement and INVOLVE's understanding of the changes to HMRC Inland Revenue IR35 regulations

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Public Involvement

Changes to HMRC regulations on ‘contractors and intermediaries’ have led to some institutions processing payments for involvement in research through PAYE.  INVOLVE has discussed these changes with HMRC and the Dept of Health’s Tax Advisor, and produced an agreed statement along with INVOLVE’s understanding of how these regulations might relate to payment for involvement.

INVOLVEs draft Guidance about Co-Production in research

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Public Involvement | Guidance

This guidance identifies some key principles and features involved in co-producing research. Co-producing research at its simplest means people working in partnership to design, develop and deliver research and knowledge. However Co-producing research is a way of working that requires

  • a change in the power dynamics between researchers, professionals and the public so that there is an equal partnership and joint ownership of key decisions in both the research and the development of knowledge
  • an emphasis on the relationships, new knowledge and outcomes that emerge from the research process.


RDS Newsletter - Autumn 2017

  Created on Thursday, 16 Nov 2017. Posted in RDS EM Newsletter

RDS EM newsletter with editorial by the new chair of the RfPB panel in East Midlands. The issue also features and article on applying for NIHR social care research funding and our Public Contributors Group which is looking for new members.

Costing a research project

  Created on Tuesday, 31 Oct 2017. Posted in Design Tips | Costing

You need to be thinking about costing from the earliest stages of your project design. You should aim to contact the relevant Research Support Office(s), and Trust R&D offices, several weeks before the deadline and to have familiarised yourself with the current research costing guidance.

Consider the questions:

  • Are the costs realistic?
  • Is your research project value for money?
  • Are you paying patients or public involved in your project?
  • Will you need to pay for any other assistance or do you have enough staff within your research project?
  • Do members of the research team need training and does this have cost implications?
  • Have you considered costs for equipment procurement, software licences, travel expenses, office supplies (printing, photocopying, postage, stationery, advertising), literature reviews, access to available publications, dissemination costs etc? 
  • Do you have CTU involvement in your project - as this will need to be costed?
  • Have you taken into account the three main types of cost - Research costs, NHS support costs, and treatment costs in line with AcoRD?
  • Have you allowed sufficient time for the costings to be verified by the host institution finance office and the finance office of any collaborating partners?

Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD)
The AcoRD guidance categorises the costs associated with research based on the nature of the activity and whether activities contribute to NHS patient care. Activities are divided into three categories, to which all research and development activities can be attributed:

  • NHS Treatment Costs: are patient care costs, which would continue to be incurred if the patient care service in question continued to be provided after the R&D study had stopped. These costs might be higher or lower than the cost of providing the current standard treatment in the NHS. Where the costs are higher, these are known as Excess Treatment Costs. These are met through the normal commissioning process.
  • NHS Service Support Costs: are additional patient care costs associated with the research, which would end once the R&D study in question had stopped, even if the patient care involved continued to be provided. Examples of such costs are processing patient records to identify NHS patients eligible to participate in the study and obtaining informed consent from participants. These costs are met from the R&D budget of the Department of Health and are provided through the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) with the activities carried out by CRN funded staff. To ensure your study can be delivered successfully contact the CRN by emailing
  • Research Costs: are costs of the R&D itself that end when the research ends. They relate to activities that are being undertaken to answer the research questions. Research costs are split into two parts; Part A must always be met by the funder, and Part B which will be met by the DH where the funder is an Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) member and NIHR Non-commercial partner (
    • Part B:
      • Local study trial co-ordination and management
      • Data collection needed to answer the questions that the research study is addressing
      • Regulatory preparation and compliance including obtaining ethical approval and complying with the Medicine for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004
      • The time taken by chief and principal investigators (CI and PI to explain the study to professional colleagues, and to understand, the research elements of a study.

A list of common research activities attributed using AcoRD are found in Annex A

Costings Flowchart

Launch of new Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship

  Created on Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017. Posted in Funding

The Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) scheme will support award holders to split their time equally between clinical service and academic training over a two year period. During this time, Fellows will undertake formal and informal clinical research training, designed around their unique training needs.  One of its many benefits is that it will allow protected time for participants to develop an application for PhD funding, with support from a named supervisor and mentor.

The PCAF scheme is anticipated to open for applications in February 2018 and will replace the current ICA Masters in Clinical Research Studentship scheme.

website: HEE-ICA/Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowships
phone: 0113 346 6268

Understanding Plain English summaries. A comparison of two approaches to improve the quality of Plain English summaries in research reports

  Created on Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017. Posted in Public Involvement | Dissemination | Design Tips

There is a need for the authors of research reports to be able to communicate their work clearly and effectively to readers who are not familiar with the research area. Because many researchers write using technical, specialised language, particularly in scientific reports, writing Plain English summaries (PESs) can be challenging. This study looked at how to improve the quality of PESs.

The quality of the three versions (original summary, rewritten summary and edited summary) were assessed in two ways. First, a group of people who were not specialists in the subject area read and rated how easy the summaries were to understand. Secondly, a well-known measure called the Flesch reading ease score to assess how easy the PESs were to read.

The results showed that the following methods resulted in the best readable PESs:

  • to employ a specialist to do the task
  • to offer more explicit information to researchers on how to write it. 

The full article can be read online in the BioMed Central Research Involvement and Engagement Journal

New NIHR nursing strategy released

  Created on Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017. Posted in News Items

A new strategy for research nurses has been published by the National Institute for Health Research that runs up to 2020. Innovation and the use of digital technology, including research nurses being active learners and becoming ‘digital natives’, is one of four key priorities in the strategy. Other priorities include creating a culture in clinical research that is patient and public focused, developing leaders in the profession and improving awareness of the contribution and impact of clinical research nursing.

Intellectual Property when applying to NIHR

  Created on Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017. Posted in Webinar

This webinar provides an introduction to IP and help researchers understand how they should discuss IP in a funding application.  
'Intellectual property' (IP) doesn't just refer to patents and inventions. The NIHR uses a much broader definition of IP and believes that the vast majority of research that it funds will produce some form of IP. Effective IP management at all stages of research is an important part of delivering long term patient benefit from NIHR funding. This means that researchers applying to NIHR need to be aware of what types of IP they may be producing and also present a compelling strategy for capturing and managing that IP. 
This one hour webinar includes:
  • Why is IP important to NIHR?
  • What is 'background' and 'foreground' IP?
  • What types of patient benefit can be produced by NIHR funded research? 
  • How should you discuss IP in an application to NIHR?

This webinar is presented by Dr Lucy Knight, NIHR Intellectual Property Manager, and Dr Lee Allen, Senior Programme Manager, who are both members of the NIHR IP Unit based at the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility in Twickenham, London.