Free advisory service – Research Design and Conduct Service (RDCS)

Do you work in the NHS or social care and want to do research? If so, did you know that there is a free advisory service that you can access that provide unlimited support to help develop high quality funding applications? The Research Design and Conduct Service (RDCS) is just that!

We are an all-Wales service with centres in Swansea, Bangor and Cardiff.  We have academic expertise in statistics, health economics, qualitative research, data management, trial management, patient and public involvement and in writing grant applications.

If you have an idea, no matter how fledgling, you can contact us to discuss it. We would love to chat with you about your idea and help you develop and refine it. We are a very friendly bunch and will be able to signpost you to all sorts of resources to help you in your research plans.

Our goal is to increase the research funding coming into Wales and to help develop chief investigator capacity. We would love to hear from you so get in touch today! Contact details for all of the RDCS services are available here.


No numbers without stories (CHEX-Point issue 48)

This powerful and moving community research project from Scotland highlights the impact of the power imbalance between professionals and service-recipients (asylum-seekers in this instance) that undermines trust and lessens participants’ belief that their voices will actually be heard. The key messages are that community-led research should be focused around issues identified by the community, and that the people affected should be enabled to carry out the research and take action themselves. Crucially, they say, you should have no stories without numbers and no numbers without stories.

For the full report from ARC (Action Research by, in and for Communities) visit this link.

JRF’s A Better Life programme of work

What can help older people with high support needs to improve their quality of life? This research rounds-up JRF’s A Better Life programme of work and presents a vision of what life can, and should, be like for all of us as we get older. A number of challenges emerged from this work and it is hoped they will form the bedrock on which joint solutions can be developed.

Academics should consult Deaf people before we plan to co-produce research with them. Surely?

From an article by Mike Gulliver: “Academics should consult Deaf people before we plan to co-produce research with them. Surely?

“How can we think of a project, think that it’s an interesting idea, think that it’s a good idea for the community, think that we know how to set it up… and then write the proposal, get the funding… all without the community being involved, and then expect the community to gratefully leap into a ready exploration of co-production with us?

We can’t, surely. I mean, if the Deaf community did the same; dreamed up a project, wrote it, went off and got funding, all without telling us. And then suddenly turned up at the door of the university and expected us to understand that it was a project that was ‘empowering’ and that they expected us to be grateful and immediately get involved… I can imagine the response.

In fact, I’m not even sure there would be a response. More a puzzled ‘what?’

Before writing people into a co-production proposal, it’s only polite to ask… surely?”

Co-production related research

The Productive Margins initiative is a joint venture between Cardiff and Bristol University.

“Community engagement needs radical re-design. All too often decision-making is top-down and decision makers do not adequately engage, deeming ‘community engagement’ a passive exercise. Communities are often only invited to comment on decisions which have already been made, leaving isolated and excluded communities feeling even more powerless, and adding to the dislocation between politicians and the electorate.

Starting life in April 2013, the Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement research programme is a co-production venture comprising community organisations and social enterprises in Bristol and South Wales and academics from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University.

A five year project, the aim is to co-produce new forms of engagement in decision-making, not just across politics and policy but also the arts.”

As part of Cardiff University’s activity with Productive Margins, there is an intention to develop a resource to help develop community based researchers. For more information contact Dr. Martin O’Neill:

Contemplating co-production (in an academic research context)

How co-design and co-production can improve research, and its application and uptake for sustainable development. “Both papers leave this reader feeling that, while there is much to recommend co-design and co-production, the people who have made it work have some hard-won experience which isn’t all that easy to pass on. Perhaps you learn about co-production by doing it.”