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Research and development (R&D)

Research and development is the process of researching and investigating a new product, such as a drug.

Staff in R&D departments make sure that studies meet the required regulations for research.

They also deal with administration of things like sponsorship and contracts. 



This is the process where patients are allocated to different treatments within a trial.

Computer programmes are used to ensure the random allocation of participants.

Each patient who is in the trial has an equal chance of having either intervention.


Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)

A randomised controlled trial compares different interventions or types of treatment.

Often a new treatment (experimental) is compared with ‘usual care’ (see below) or a placebo (control group).

The control group allows the researchers to see whether the treatment they are testing is more or less effective than the usual or standard treatment.

A placebo can be a drug that looks the same as the treatment but contains no active ingredients.



Rehabilitation includes activities such as physiotherapy that aim to help a person recover, for example, from surgery or an injury.



Reimbursement is when you pay someone back for money they have already spent.



A representative is someone who acts or speaks on behalf of someone else or on behalf of a group.

In research, a representative usually represents patient groups or the public.



Research is process of investigation and can use a range of methods such as experiments, observation, interviews to find out new information.


Research governance

Research governance is the sets of rules that researchers must follow to make sure that their research is ethical, safe, and trustworthy.

In the UK, NHS researchers must follow the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care from the government’s Department of Health.


Research partner

A research partner is someone who is involved in leading, designing, or carrying out a research project.

A research partner can be from any background, including patients, the public, or other professionals.

Such partners are equally respected and responsible for the research project.


Research proposal

A research proposal is a document that researchers write when they design a new research project.

Proposals are usually sent to whoever is providing the money for the research project to help decide if they want to fund it.

A proposal should include:

  • the overall aim of the research
  • the main questions the researchers want to answer
  • a plan for how they carry out the research
  • who will be involved
  • plans for how long it will last and
  • how much it will cost.



A review publication is a peer-reviewed article in a medical journal.

It is an overview of different research that summarises everything that is known about a particular disease or topic.



The position or purpose something or someone has in a particular situation, organisation or society.