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6th Annual Trials Methodology Symposium 2020

The HRB-TMRN are delighted to welcome some of the world’s leading experts in trial methodology to our first online Trial Methodology Symposium on October 14 and 15. The theme for this year’s event is

“Improved trials for better health decisions for an informed public”

Session 1

Methodological challenges for trial conduct

October 14 | 14:00 – 16:00

Session 2

Conducting challenging trials – shared knowledge and better infrastructure

October 15 | 10:00 – 12:00

Session 3

Public involvement in trial methodology research

October 15 | 14:00 – 16:00

Guest Speakers

Dr Mairéad O’Driscoll
Chief Executive HRB

Dr Mairéad O’Driscoll was the Director of Research Strategy and Funding at the HRB, with responsibility for a budget of approximately €40 million per annum and an awards portfolio of approximately €150m. Before being appointed Director of Funding, she was Head of Policy, Evaluation and External Relations at the HRB. She worked as a researcher in academia and industry before moving into policy research, first with the Royal Society in London and then with the Wellcome Trust. She also spent time in South Africa where she worked on the development of a national research and technology foresight study. Read more >

Dr Katie Gillies
University of Aberdeen

Katie Gillies is Director of the Healthcare Assessment Programme, Senior Research Fellow and MRC Methodology Fellow working in Methodological Research related to participant centred trials. On completion of her PhD (Biochemistry) Katie moved to applied research and joined HSRU in 2007 taking up the post of Trial Manager for the CATHETER Trial.  Whilst working as a Trial Manager she gained an MSc in Health Services and Public Health Research from the University of Aberdeen.  During this degree Katie became interested in trials methodology more broadly and specifically how people make decisions about their healthcare and specifically how people make decisions about participation in clinical trials. Read more >

Prof. Peter Bower
University of Manchester

Prof Bower currently lead the Centre for Primary Care, which is part of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. His work is largely within the Long-Term Conditions Theme, with a focus on mental health, multimorbidity, and service delivery. Prof Bower is the Health Services Research Speciality Lead for the NIHR CRN ( and an NIHR Senior Investigator. He is also an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners Read more >

Prof. Jane Blazeby
University of Bristol

Jane Blazeby is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Bristol and a Honorary Consultant Upper GI Surgeon at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. She is a leader in surgical trials methodology. She leads and supports trials including the By-Band-Sleeve Study (NIHR HTA reference 09/127/53), ROMIO (NIHR HTA reference 14/140/78) and SUNFLOWER (NIHR HTA reference 16/142/04). She has methodological expertise in outcome selection, measurement and reporting. She is currently a member of the COMET executive group. She enjoys multi-disciplinary collaborative working and working with patients to optimise study design, delivery and implementation. Read More > 

Dr Jacques Demotes
Director General, European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN)

Jacques Demotes is the director general of the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN), which he founded in 2004. In this role, he is responsible for the strategy and overall management of the infrastructure with the support of the ECRIN Management Office (located in Paris, France), the ECRIN European Correspondents (located in each Member / Observer country), and ECRIN’s Scientific Partners (i.e., national networks of clinical trial units).

A neurologist and professor of cell biology, Demotes is an advisor to the biology and health research department at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. While at ECRIN, he has contributed to numerous initiatives and collaborative projects related to multinational clinical trials. In particular, he chaired the working group that drafted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council Recommendation on the Governance of Clinical Trials. Read More >

Derek C Stewart OBE
Patient Advocate

Derek was treated successfully for throat cancer in 1995.  A former teacher he became actively involved in numerous aspects of patient involvement and advocacy at a local, regional and national level being the founder Chair of the Consumer Liaison Group for the National Cancer Research Institute. Until recently Derek was Associate Director for the National Institute for Health Research – Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN). In the charity sector, he is a Member of Cancer Research UK.

Derek was Chair of a successful Primary Care Trust in Nottinghamshire in the years 2001-2006. From 2005-2010, he was a Trustee and Vice Chair of on Core UK , the National Cancer Tissue Resource a joint charity with Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.  In 2008 till 2011, Derek was the lay Chair of the UK Confederation of Cancer Biobanks that helped establish good working principles, shared learning and agreeing standard operating procedures.

From 2013-16 Derek was the Chair of Citizens Advice Nottingham. At present, Dereck is helping NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre to develop a People Strategy. Read More >

Prof. Declan Devane
Scientific Director HRB TMRN

Declan is the Scientific Director of the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Director of Evidence Synthesis Ireland and Director of Cochrane Ireland. He holds the Chair in Midwifery and is Deputy Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. He is also Principal Investigator with the INFANT – Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research. Declan trained as a nurse and a midwife, meandered (with the help of opportunity, interest and luck) his way into trial methodology and evidence synthesis and his work now focusses on a blend across midwifery (and broader maternity care), randomised trials and how they are done and synthesising evidence. Read More >

Elaine Finucane

Elaine Finucane is a Midwife, a Cochrane Fellow and Research Associate in the Centre for Health Evaluation, Methodology Research and Evidence Synthesis (CHEMRES), located in the National University of Ireland Galway. Elaine received a BSc in Midwifery Science from NUI Galway and is currently a PhD Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway. Elaine is working on a variety of clinical trials. Her current projects include a HRB funded multi-site feasibility study and a HRB funded innovative, virtual trial aimed at enhancing the public’s understanding of randomised trials. Read More >

Q&A Moderators

Dr Frances Shiely
University College Cork / HRB Clinical Research Facility Cork
Prof Joe Eustace
HRB Clinical Research Facility Director Cork
Dr Derick Mitchell
Chief Executive Officer of IPPOSI


5th Trial Methodology Symposium 2019


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