research design service 

About us

The Research Design Service – South West is part of the extensive National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) infrastructure supporting research and researchers around the country. It is one of ten RDS services in England with eight offices based in NHS trusts or universities across the South West.
The NIHR funds the RDS to provide free research funding, methodological and practical support to health and social care researchers across England to develop grant applications to the NIHR and other national peer-reviewed funding programmes (for example MRC, ESRC and major charities). Advice also covers the large number of NIHR fellowships available. We work closely with the University’s R&I Department who are able to provide a range of advice and support on all sources of research funding and application requirements.
The Plymouth office is based in the Plymouth Science Park but holds weekly advice surgeries in Truro. Apart from one-to-one methodological and funding advice, the RDS-SW provides several other services to help with your application. For example, a monthly Project Review Committee (PRC) brings fresh eyes to critique applications before submission; regular workshops to advise on current applications; a regular newsletter; and an annual Residential Research Retreat where research teams are given the time and support to draft their application.
We liaise with other branches of the NIHR ‘family’, for example the local CLAHRC and Clinical Research Network and work particularly closely with the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit (PenCTU) with which we are co-located. If you are considering applying for funding to undertake research in any aspect of health or social care, please feel free to contact the Coordinating Centre at or just email one of us.