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Research Support Service Hub delivered by University of Southampton and Partners

In partnership with the Universities of Portsmouth and Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This hub is a collaboration between 15 units who make up a team of highly experienced methodologists and researchers.

Skilled research advisers provide support in many different methodological areas and contexts for applied health and care research, including public health research.

Additionally, access is available to other researchers, with national and international track records, through our Partner institutions and networks to support the development and delivery of high quality applied health and care research.

The hub co-hosts, and works closely with, the new RSS Specialist Centre for Public Health.

Does our experience and expertise match your research needs?

Look through this hub's research specialties and additional support below.

Research support

This hub provides a full range of support for the development of research funding applications, advice on setting up and delivery of research studies, and collaboration opportunities.

Support is delivered in various ways, including:

  • One-to-one advice
  • A discussion of research ideas, applications and study set-up with multidisciplinary methodology panels
  • Pre-submission application review
  • Mock interviews
  • Opportunities to meet with partner clinical trials units and other researchers from the hub network for potential collaboration (for projects), or supervision/mentorship (for fellowships)
  • Events focused on research application development

A broad range of support is available for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) from a dedicated PPIE team, this includes:

  • Advice on funders’ requirements relating to PPIE
  • Support identifying and approaching PPIE contributors
  • Support and advice on undertaking community involvement and working with underserved communities
  • Facilitating PPIE sessions and collating feedback
  • Reviewing PPIE sections of research applications
  • Support and advice on addressing challenges relating to EDI and diversity within PPIE
  • Support and advice on innovative PPIE approaches
  • Advice on costing PPIE activities into grant applications
  • Providing Public Involvement Funds to support the payment of pre-submission PPIE activities

Other support includes:

  • Advice in finding funding sources
  • Refining research questions, aims and objectives
  • Planning projects, teams and budgets
  • Impact planning
  • Writing techniques/pitching an application

Research strengths and areas of expertise

See our research strengths and expertise in public health research on the Specialist Centre for Public Health page.

The team at this hub bring expertise in the following core methodological areas:

  • Quantitative and qualitative study design and analysis, including clinical trials, epidemiology, medical statistics, mixed methods, intervention co-design, health economics, health psychology
  • Patient, public, service user and community involvement and engagement
  • Research design to maximise Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

There is particular expertise in the following areas:


  • Health economics:
    • trials, feasibility and pilot studies
    • outcome measures
    • stroke, dementia, respiratory and musculoskeletal disease, cancer/oncology, public health, paediatrics, digital app/web-based interventions
  • Big data and record/data linkage
  • Descriptive and critical qualitative research
  • Digital, AI app (including virtual reality) and web-based intervention evaluations
  • Innovative public and community involvement and engagement including approaches to working in partnership with underserved communities
  • Intervention development
  • Lifecourse epidemiology
  • Psychometrics
  • Systematic reviews
  • Development of patient experience and outcome measurements (PREMs and PROMs)

Trial methodology:

  • Decentralised clinical trials
  • Digital tools
  • Novel clinical trial designs
  • Mediation analysis
  • Patient recruitment and retention
  • Platform trials
  • Trial conduct
  • Trials within cohorts

 Subject areas 

  • Cancer survivorship
  • Diabetes (care improvement, diabetic eye disease)
  • Early diagnosis (observational studies)
  • Industry-led research
  • Long-term conditions (related to health care technology and social care)
  • Mental health (care improvement)
  • Nursing, midwifery and allied health research
  • Perinatal epidemiology
  • Primary care
  • Public health
  • Staff experience

Contact us

If you would like support from this RSS Hub, complete this form to tell us a little about yourselves, your research idea, and the help you need (temporarily hosted on an RDS interface).

For other enquiries please contact us at

Hub partners

Clinical Trials Units

  • National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit Clinical Trials Unit brings specialised expertise in perinatal research. The CTU also conducts methodology research.
  • Oxford Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit is a leading centre for primary care clinical trials. The unit is dedicated to advancing the field of primary care research by conducting high-quality, innovative clinical trials that aim to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities.
  • Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit has expertise across oncology, trauma and emergency care, rehabilitation, experimental medicine in rheumatology and surgical interventions, and engages in methodology research.
  • Southampton Clinical Trials Unit brings expertise in cancer, primary care, infectious disease and Phase I trials and engages in methodology research (e.g. modern methods to improve drug escalation decision-making).

Higher Education Institution Departments

Local Authorities