RDS News - April 2014

Welcome to the e-bulletin from the Research Design Service South West (RDS SW), keeping you updated with the latest news, events and communications from the RDS and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
New national RDS website
A new national website for the Research Design Service has just been launched and provides a one-stop access point for RDS services. The site has been designed to cater for researchers’ needs and is structured around four themes:

What can the RDS do for me?How do I access my regional centre? | When are the next funding deadlines? | What news/developments do I need to be aware of?

As Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is such an important feature of all research bids, this needed a special introduction on the website. Our aim is to both raise awareness and to promote meaningful inclusion, as early as possible in the bid design process.
The site also offers researchers various opportunities to contact and engage with the RDS through features such as Twitter and ‘Ask the RDS’.
Free RDS workshop - now accepting applications
- Are you thinking of applying for a research grant?
- Would you like guidance on improving your
  chances of success at getting funded?

The Grant Applications Workshop, run by the Research Design Service South West, is designed to help you make your application as persuasive as possible. This free one-day workshop will next be held on Thursday 10 July 2014 at Taunton Racecourse, Somerset. The deadline for receipt of completed application forms and research proposals is 1pm Monday 9 June 2014.
To find out more about the workshop and the application process visit on our Grant Applications Workshop webpage, or contact us at rds-sw@tst.nhs.uk or 01823 342792.
NIHR looks to break new ground in public involvement in research
The NIHR has announced a strategic review of public involvement in health, social care and public health research entitled: ‘Breaking Boundaries: thinking differently about public involvement in research.’
Over the next six months, the ‘Breaking Boundaries’ review will ‘examine future options for building an active collaboration with the public and making best use of their skills, knowledge and experience in the work of the NIHR.’  It is expected to define a vision and set clear goals for the next ten years

Patients and the public, researchers and clinicians, the NIHR and other research organisations, are being asked to contribute their views with a particular focus on the innovations and new approaches that will help the NIHR break new ground plus the barriers and challenges to be overcome in this important area.
The ‘Breaking Boundaries’ strategic review is being steered by a panel of service users, researchers, clinicians and staff from across the NIHR and the wider research community. It will last approximately six months and make its report and recommendations prior to the INVOLVE conference in Birmingham 26/7 November 2014.
The terms of reference for the review and details of how you can submit comments can be found here: Terms of Reference | How to submit comments
Questions that need answering when designing clinical trials
The Health Research Authority (HRA) has published useful guidance to clarify which questions researchers, sponsors, peer reviewers, and ethics committees should ask when planning or reviewing clinical studies. The HRA Guidance poses five questions:
  • Is there a clear research question?
  • Will the proposed study design answer the research question?
  • Are the assumptions used in the sample size calculation appropriate?
  • How will the safety and efficacy be monitored during the trial?
  • How will the trial be registered and subsequently published? 
The guidance can be obtained from the HRA website.
Latest funding calls and other opportunities
Funding deadline calendar
For an overview of NIHR calls and ongoing funding opportunities, please see our funding deadlines webpage.
3rd i4i Challenge Awards call NOW OPEN in the area of regenerative medicine or biological therapeutics for cancer
The i4i Challenge Awards address particular ‘challenges’ that are priorities for the NHS. The programme will seek to identify those medical technologies with the greatest potential clinical benefit, along with how they might be integrated into clinical decision and treatment pathways and how they might be implemented on a large scale. The Challenge Awards will seek to support a team capable in developing and supporting a programme of work for the further development of the technology's clinical utility, including its broader applicability. Deadline: 21 May 2014.
Find out more and apply.
EME Programme - Researcher Led and Commissioned applications invited
The EME Programme is accepting applications to its researcher-led workstream. Applicants are invited to apply by 1pm on 17 June 2014. More information on how to apply can be found on the EME researcher-led call webpage.

The EME Programme is accepting applications to its commissioned workstream for the following topics:
• 14/37 - Surfactant therapy for critically ill infants with bronchiolitis - closes 8 May 2014
• 14/24 - Mechanisms of action of health interventions - closes 3 June 2014

Please visit the
EME commissioned call webpage for further details, and for a list of anticipated call topics for the next year and how to apply.
Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme
Commissioned funding stream 
Evidence synthesis (full proposals) and primary research (outline to full proposal) proposals are invited on a number of topics. Full details including deadlines and guidance for applicants are available on the HTA commissioned funding webpage.
Researcher-led funding stream
Applications are invited using efficient study designs. The research will demonstrate particular design features to allow either more rapid conduct and/or lower costs when benchmarked against conventional pragmatic multicentre trials, while still providing data sufficiently robust to guide NHS or patient decisions. The closing date for applications is 1pm on 16 July 2014. For full details and to apply please visit the HTA researcher-led webpage.
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