NIHR Research Design Service East Midlands

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) provides free advice on research design to researchers developing proposals for open, national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social research.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service  supports researchers in designing and developing high quality research proposals for submission to national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.  This is a free national service throughout England which is locally delivered. In the East Midlands the RDS EM provides a range of expert advice to help local researchers.

The NIHR RDS EM has its main bases in Leicester and Nottingham with associated staff located in Northampton, Derby and Lincoln. There is a wide skill-mix of staff including statisticians, qualitative researchers, epidemiologists, health economists and information specialists. RDS staff are research active and have considerable expertise in developing and designing high quality research proposals.

The RDS maintains strong links with NHS, social care organizations and NIHR Biomedical Research Units across the East Midlands.

Strategic aim

To provide an accessible and responsive service to researchers across the East Midlands offering expert methodological advice in order to significantly increase the number of high quality applications for funding to undertake applied, people-focused health or social care research.


  • To provide an effective support service to researchers throughout the East Midlands for the preparation of proposals for submission to national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research;

  • To provide a comprehensive range of expertise in research design, including in clinical trials, epidemiological studies, qualitative and social research, systematic reviews and economic evaluations;

  • To raise awareness of research funding priorities, opportunities and requirements, particularly those relating to NIHR research funding programmes;

  • To support appropriate and meaningful patient and public involvement (PPI), particularly in research design;

  • To foster collaborations between health, social care and academic researchers as well as users of health or social care services, the public and other relevant partners;

  • To ensure a high quality service through monitoring and review of activities and outcomes;

  • To support the development of research design skills, including through educational activities where appropriate;

  • To signpost researchers to other sources of research support outside the RDS.


Researchers within the Unit have extensive collaborations with research groups in health trusts and academic institutions across the East Midlands, including in cardiovascular medicine and diabetes, ageing and stroke, elderly care, renal transplantation and adult psychiatry. 

Research Income

The current value of the University of Leicester RDS contract is approximately £580,000 per year.

Share this page:

NIHR RDS Website

Link  to the NIHR Research Design Service East Midlands website for more information about the RDS and how to request support.