The NIHR Research Design Service is closed to new requests from 30 September 2023. We will continue to support our existing clients with existing projects up to 31 March 2024. If you have a question you can email us.
For support with any new project ideas please now contact the NIHR Research Support Service.

COVID-19: supporting your research

Updated 1 March 2022

RDS working practices in light of COVID-19

The RDS South West is open as usual but all of our meetings and consultations will now be virtual - our staff are still working and can be contacted via email in the first instance. However, as they are working remotely, and many having caring responsibilities, they may not be able to respond immediately or within normal working hours but they will be able to offer support by email, telephone or video conference. Please do not come to the offices as they are all currently closed due to coronavirus.

Please note we will no longer be holding face-to-face meetings. This applies to one-to-one meetings with our advisers and Project Review Committee (PRC) meetings. All RDS events (such as the NIHR Grant Applications Seminar) have been postponed. We will continue to arrange meetings, but these will be held remotely (either by teleconference or video conference).

If you have any questions about our response to COVID-19, please contact us on

Since 30 June 2020, the NIHR and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have evolved their funding of COVID-19 research, having awarded more than £32 million into urgent research to tackle the acute phase of the pandemic via the NIHR-UKRI COVID-19 rapid response initiative. The NIHR launched the Recovery and Learning funding call to better understand and manage the health and social care consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic beyond the acute phase. This call is for research proposals of up to 24 months’ duration.


What the RDS South West is doing

Do you need support with a COVID-19 rapid-funding application? We're here to help. Contact us on

COVID-19 resources

On this page you will find resources on:


COVID-19 rapid funding calls


Open calls

There are currently no open calls that we are aware of.


Data, evidence, resources and trials





Funding resources


Mixed/comprehensive resources






Ethics and public involvement


Global health


Government and other guidance

Get involved

For researchers
For the public


Updates on the impact of Covid-19 on current research and applications

In some cases research application deadlines have been extended, whereas others remain unchanged. We recommend you check in with your funding body directly. See also:

DHSC and NHS England and Improvement
Guidance on funding research staff redeployed to the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic

Supporting the restart of paused NIHR activities

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Support for PhD students as a result of coronavirus disruption

Guidance on the impact of COVID-19 on research

Q&A on the impact of COVID-19 on research funded or supported by NIHR

Health Research Authority (HRA)
Guidance for sponsors, sites and researchers
UK student research update

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Advice for management of clinical trials

Medical Research Council (MRC)
Update for funded researchers

NIHR Academy
Message for all NIHR Academy members

Health Education England (HEE)
Information for trainees

HEE, HEIW, NHS Education for Scotland, GMC, and Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency
Joint guidance regarding Medical Education and Training

Cancer Research UK
Information for grant applicants and grantholders

Medical Schools Council
Advice to UK Medical Schools on actions surrounding COVID-19

Information for grant applicants and grantholders

British Heart Foundation
Managing your grant

Royal College of Physicians
FAQs for trainee

Academy of Medical Sciences
Coronavirus guidance