Research Design Service: East Midlands

Latest News

HTA update: Multi-morbidity or rather multiple long-term conditions!

  Created on Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019. Posted in Funding

This month's update from HTA addresses who should be included in clinical trials in relation to multi-morbidity.

Multiple long-term conditions are not easy to research as the understanding of disease clustering whether genetic, early risk factors or attributes of age, poverty and geography is still at an early stage, but what we can do is be more vigilant as to who we include in clinical trials. Unless there are very good reasons to exclude people then researchers should strive to include those who are often in the past been excluded from trails such as those with multiple long-term conditions.

It’s recognised that being more inclusive might result in slightly larger sample sizes and data from efficacy studies might not be the best on which to base planned sample size calculations but we need to try and base our clinical trial plans on as much real world NHS data as possible.

Also including lots of different people in clinical trials risks diluting the ability to detect changes, as some groups are less likely to benefit from the intervention or they may have much poorer follow up data, but we must do what we can to achieve a reasonable balance.

HTA will be looking carefully at exclusion criteria in applications. Study populations should be a sensible balance between feasibility, cost and the ability to generalise to the wider NHS population.

New report shows clinical research improves health of UK economy and NHS

  Created on Tuesday, 05 Nov 2019.

The value of clinical research to the NHS, the UK economy and jobs market has been evaluated in a new report, which provides an assessment of the economic impact of the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s (NIHR CRN) activities to support clinical research in England. The report, produced by KPMG and commissioned by the NIHR CRN, covers the financial period 2016/17 to 2018/19 and shows that over this period, clinical research supported by the NIHR CRN generated an estimated £8bn of gross value added (GVA) and 47,467 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs for the UK.

Changes to NIHR costing methodology from 2020/21

  Created on Tuesday, 05 Nov 2019. Posted in Costing

From April 2020, the NIHR’s online interactive Costing Tool (iCT) will be the only system available for industry costing submissions for new studies. There will be no further Excel templates produced after this time. Make sure you're ready for the big switchover and find out more about the iCT and how to get started here.
All NHS R&D Departments are encouraged to pro-actively work ahead of this deadline and register themselves with group CPMS accounts so that are able to receive new iCT requests from our commercial partners, meaning that negotiation timelines and setup are reduced to a minimum. 

NIHR Guidance update for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants

  Created on Monday, 04 Nov 2019. Posted in Guidance

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants: Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of:

  • Age
  • Gender including gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Disability including diminished mental capacity
  • Ethnicity, religion or belief
  • Geographical location
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Access to healthcare

Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at.

Hundreds of practice nurses across the country have been taught how social media can improve health thanks to the success of one of NHS Digital’s Widening Digital Participation projects

  Created on Friday, 01 Nov 2019.

Following a pilot using Facebook to promote breast screening, one area saw a 12.9% increase in the take-up of screening services and moved from 58th in the country for uptake to 11th. The same techniques are now being used to encourage patients to go for other cancer screening tests. Around 350 general practice nurses and other practice staff have so far been trained as “digital health champions”, including learning how social media can help promote practice services.

Guidance on whether an intervention is ready for HTA evaluation

  Created on Friday, 01 Nov 2019. Posted in Funding

Given that national pragmatic HTA trials typically cost over £1m of public funds, the HTA programme needs to be convinced that an intervention is ready for HTA evaluation.

The HTA have written a document outlining issues that may determine this judgement in relation to intervention studies.

Generally, an intervention is ready for HTA evaluation if:

  • There is a reasonable chance that it will be effective
  • It has already been tested in a typical NHS or social care setting
  • There is a reasonable chance it will be used across the NHS if shown to be effective

This article explains what is meant by each of the above points, covering such things as the need for a systematic review.

Artificial Intelligence: How to get it right Putting policy into practice for safe data-driven innovation in health and care

  Created on Friday, 01 Nov 2019. Posted in Guidance

NHSX brings teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement together into one unit to drive digital transformation and lead policy, implementation and change.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to make a significant difference to health and care. A broad range of techniques can be used to create Artificially Intelligent Systems (AIS) to carry out or augment health and care tasks that have until now been completed by humans, or have not been possible previously; these techniques include inductive logic programming, robotic process automation, natural language processing, computer vision, neural networks and distributed artificial intelligence. These technologies present significant opportunities for keeping people healthy, improving care, saving lives and saving money for the pilot digital technologies. It could help personalised NHS screening and treatments for cancer, eye disease and a range of other conditions, for example. Furthermore, it’s not just patients who can benefit. AI can also support clinicians, enabling them to make the best use of their expertise, informing their decisions and saving them time.

This report gives a considered and cohesive overview of the current state of play of data-driven technologies within the health and care system, covering everything from the local research environment to international frameworks in development. Informed by research conducted by NHSX and other partners over the past year, it outlines where in the system AI technologies can be utilised and the policy work that is, and will need to be done, to ensure this utilisation is done in a safe, effective and ethically acceptable manner.

RDS Newsletter - Autumn 2019

  Created on Wednesday, 23 Oct 2019. Posted in RDS EM Newsletter

RDS EM newsletter with an editorial from Caroline Nicholson one of the NIHR Training Advocates. The issue also features the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework and the new Essence toolkit with case studies looking at intervention, cost effectiveness and the nature of evidence in adult social care.

Introducing new public health research principles and goals to guide funding decisions

  Created on Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019. Posted in Public Health

The purpose of the principles and goals is to increase the impact of the UK’s offer on health of the public research, so we are better able to tackle the public health challenges we face, now and in the future.

identified priorities which, in our view, are the best ways to encourage new ways of working in the field of health of the public research and which are focused on intervention. Goals are grouped across four themes: (1) The environment, (2) Life course, (3) Systems and (4) Innovation


  • Create and maintain built and natural environments for better health
  • A place-based approach to reduce health inequalities
  • Set children and young people on the right path for good health
  • Respond to changes in how we work and what it means for health
  • Reshape food systems to improve health
  • Understand the role of the health and social care system in prevention
  • Better use of legal and fiscal levers to improve population health
  • Deploy new technologies for health protection and health improvement

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT)

  Created on Wednesday, 09 Oct 2019. Posted in Social Care | Toolkit/Database

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) is a novel method for determining the impact of services. ASCOT tools measure the domains of quality of life more affected by social care - key outcome is social care-related quality of life (SCRQoL).

In order to use ASCOT tools you have to register and obtain a licence.