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The University of Southampton

Good news for health and social care researchers seeking support with funding applications

Published: 22 March 2013

The Southampton-based regional centre of a national support network for health and social care professionals' research applications has had its important work recognised in a £5.3 million contract renewal.

Press release courtesy of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS).

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has renewed its funding to the University of Southampton to manage the NIHR’s Research Design Service South Central (RDS South Central) for a further five years. By increasing the quality and quantity of successful grant applications, the RDS makes a vital contribution to improving the health and wealth of our nation.

The renewal of this contract from October 2013 means that health and social care researchers in the South can continue to benefit from the specialist, free support in formulating research proposals. This includes advice on identifying an appropriate funding stream, statistics, health economics, qualitative methodology, and support for Patient and Public Involvement in research.

The service is offered to individuals seeking funding for applied health and social care research from open national peer reviewed funding programmes.

RDS South Central is one of a national network of ten NIHR RDS centres in England and is a collaboration between the Universities of Southampton, Oxford, Oxford Brookes and Portsmouth. Southampton is the Co-ordinating Centre where the team are located within Primary Care and Population Science, Faculty of Medicine.

Paul Roderick, Professor of Public Health at the University of Southampton and Director of Primary Care and Population Sciences which hosts RDS South Central’s base in Southampton, said: ‘The award of the new contract for the NIHR Research Design Service South Central is great news.

‘Over five years, Mark Mullee, Director of RDS South Central, has built an excellent team with colleagues in the Universities of Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton who have delivered a really effective service to support health and social care researchers applying for research funding.
‘The new contract provides an opportunity to future develop high quality research applications that will ultimately benefit patients and improve health.’

Mark Mullee, Director of RDS South Central, said: ‘The award of this new contract is testimony to our excellent team and to the collaborations we enjoy with stakeholders in the region. This is an exciting time to be part of health research and it is a great privilege to be part of the fantastic achievements of the NIHR. We look forward to strengthening our local and regional collaborations and playing an active role in the development of a truly national Research Design Service.’
Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health, said:

"The NIHR is transforming research in the NHS to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It is very important that researchers applying for NIHR funding can access the services provided by the RDS so that they can submit their best applications to the NIHR and others for funding.”

For more information about RDS South Central, or to apply for support, visit

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