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NIHR Research Support Service


Applications will soon be invited for a new NIHR scheme - the NIHR Research Support Service (RSS).

The NIHR RSS scheme will provide NIHR funding for centres to:

  • Act as key centres of expertise in providing an integrated and consistent research design, development, collaboration and implementation service, ensuring seamless and efficient support from pre-application through to post-application phases for all researchers working across the remit of the NIHR with support prioritised for those applying for funding from NIHR programmes;
  • Act as centres of methodological expertise, with increased emphasis on suitable training and career development opportunities for centre staff. 

This new scheme will replace the current NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) and NIHR Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) Support schemes, but importantly, will incorporate and retain the remits of each scheme, collectively forming a national community providing expert research design, methodological support, advice, and collaboration throughout the pre- and post-application/research conduct.

National Specialist Centres and National Collaborative Hub

RSS centres that can demonstrate the appropriate expertise will be appointed as National Specialist Centres with a focus on either:

  1. social care research,
  2. public health research or
  3. research led by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Applicants for National Specialist Centres will need to demonstrate expertise and partnership working in carrying out research in these settings and sectors, including an understanding of the methodological challenges faced and how these might be mitigated or overcome.

All commissioned RSS centres will be expected to participate in a National Collaborative Hub. The Hub will develop a shared business plan detailing the delivery model of core functions, capacity development in the use of virtual resources and identification of future needs in methodology research.

The application guidance will be made available during June 2022. Applications must be submitted through the Research Management System (RMS). The online application and finance forms will open via the RMS in August 2022. 

Launch Meeting

We will be holding a launch meeting for potential applicants on 5 July 2022 (15:00-17:00) in London. Deadline for registration is 27 June 2022 and kindly submit any questions to be addressed at the workshop by 27 June 2022, 13:00. 

Please submit any questions on the remit and aims of the scheme using the question form. Answers to frequently asked questions will be regularly updated on the NIHR website following the launch meeting and until two weeks before call close. For any queries on the launch meeting registration and RMS please email