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NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellowship Potential CTU Host Organisations


When applying for the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, it is expected that applicants will have the help and support from two or more supervisors when putting together the application, in particular, details of the training and development programme. Supervisors will also play an active role in supporting the applicant throughout the duration of the fellowship itself. At least one of the intended supervisors must be within the selected research methodology proposed for study. 

The list below contains the names and contact details of potential clinical trial units (CTUs) who are willing to provide support in putting together an application, and with undertaking the fellowship. This list is not exhaustive and applicants may approach other suitable organisations as required.

For further information, please refer to the latest set of guidance notes listed on the Fellowships page.




Areas able to support

Gillian Lancaster

Keele Clinical Trials Unit

  • Biostatistics in randomised trials

  • Methods of pilot and feasibility trials

  • Prognosis research

  • Stratified care trial design and methods

  • Systematic review methods including IPD meta-analysis

  • Big data / electronic health record research and epidemiology

James Carpenter

MRC Clinical Trials Unit, University College London

The CTU has a strong programme of methodological activity and can support a wide range of methodology relative to the design, analysis and conduct of clinical trials.

This includes novel multi-arm multi-stage designs and non-inferiority designs; meta-analysis methodology; methodology for missing trial outcomes and effective use of routine electronic health records in trials.

In addition, we are closely linked to both the MSc in Clinical Trials at UCL, and the MSc in medical statistics at the LSHTM, and already provide projects and supervision for students in both programmes.

Julia Brown

Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research

  1. Complex interventions trial design and analysis:

    Supervisors: Amanda Farrin, Dr Rebecca Walwyn

  2. Design of experiments:

    Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Walwyn, Dr Duncan Wilson

  3. Early-phase cancer trial designs:

    Supervisors: Julia Brown, Dr Sarah Brown

  4. Biomarker-guided clinical trials:

    Supervisors: Julia Brown, David Cairns

  5. Clinical Prediction Models in clinical trial data:

    Supervisors: Julia Brown, David Cairns, Sarah Brown

  6. Surrogate outcome measure development and evaluation:

    Supervisors: Julia Brown, Dr David Cairns, Dr Sarah Brown

  7. Applied health informatics/routine data alongside clinical trials

    a) In cancer: Supervisors: Julia Brown, Dr David Cairns

    b) In complex intervention evaluation: Supervisors: Amanda Farrin

  8. Design and analysis of trials in surgical interventions:

    Supervisors: Deborah Stocken, Julia Brown

  9. Design and methods for inslico trials in surgical devices:

    Supervisors: Deborah Stocken, Rebecca Walwyn

  10. Qualitative methods in surgical trials:

    Supervisors: Deborah Stocken, Nikki Rousseau

  11. Expertise based designs in surgical trials:

    Supervisors:  Deborah Stocken, Julia Brown

Caroline Murphy

King's Clinical Trials Unit

0207 848 5273

  1. Trials of complex interventions: quality control and adaptive designs

  2. Efficient development of databases

  3. Long term follow up

  4. Efficacy designs to reduce non compliance

  5. Trials within cohort studies

Ann Marie Swart

Norwich Clinical Trials Unit

We have a Health Economics MSc and are able to offer training in health economic evaluation alongside clinical trials (Jenny Whitty and David Turner).

We can also offer an MSc in health research methods alongside broad training in trial design and delivery (Matthew Hammond).

We have experts in process evaluation and qualitative methods and can provide practical training in these areas (Jamie Murdoch). We have expertise in complex interventions, drug and device trials.

Chris Rogers

Bristol Trials Centre (comprising Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration and Bristol Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit)

Bristol Trials Centre is a large multidisciplinary CTU formed from the merger of Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration and Bristol Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit.

Bristol Trials Centre has strengths in the design, conduct and analysis of pragmatic effectiveness trials of interventions in a range of clinical areas and settings, including public health, primary and secondary care, surgery, respiratory, oncology, community psychiatry, child and adolescent health, neurology, and urology.

We also have a portfolio of earlier phase efficacy trials in cardiac surgery. The fellow would join a team of methodologists (statisticians, trialists, health economists) who are experienced in supervising pre-doctoral, doctoral and post-doctoral research fellows.

The fellow would have the opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of the life cycle of trials and in the use of routine data (e.g. hospital episode statistics) in a trial context.

Chris Partlett

Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU)

NCTU has a growing portfolio of trial methodology research and would be very happy to support fellowships in Medical Statistics and Trial Methodology.

Dan Hind

Sheffield Clinical Trials Unit

Contact for information.

David Harrison

Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre

Contact for information.

David Torgerson

York Trials Unit

We are happy to support Fellowships in: Medical Statistics, Clinical Trial Design, Mixed Methods and Qualitative Research.

Ly Mee Yu

Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, part of the Oxford Primary Care and Vaccines Collaborative Clinical Trials Unit

Contact for information.

Nick Freemantle

Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU) at University College London

CCTU is happy to act as a host for these fellowships (and we have experience of other similar schemes such as in mental health research). We have particular support to offer in statistics and operations across the range of trial designs (phase 1 through 4). A suitable fellow could be involved with the development of specific projects to provide relevant experience of all aspects of the statistics and operations of clinical trials.

Gareth Griffiths

Southampton Clinical Trials Unit

SCTU undertakes clinical trials from Phase 1 (FIH) to Phase III and other well designed studies, many rich in translational and HE data, in cancer and non-cancer.

We are closely linked to the MSc in statistics at the University of Southampton, along with other MScs such as in genomics and mixed methods.

As part of ONE NIHR Wessex we have close links with other NIHR infrastructure in Wessex including the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS), Clinical Research Network (CRN), Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), Clinical Research Facility (CRF) and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) all based in Southampton.    

Gavin Murphy

Leicester Clinical Trials Unit

Contact for information.

Simon Gates

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, Birmingham

Contact for information.

 Chris Hayward

Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit University of Plymouth

Contact for information.

Apostolos Fakis

Derby Clinical Trials Support Unit (CTSU)

Derby CTSU would be very pleased to host such a Fellowship and we would be able to provide support in the areas of Medical Statistics, Clinical Trial Design and Operational Research.

Derby CTSU have expertise in planning, analysing and reporting clinical trials including parallel and cross-over RCTs, longitudinal, case-control, cohort, diagnostic, cross-sectional, feasibility / pilot, and systematic literature reviews.

Victoria Cornelius

Imperial Clinical Trials Unit

Dr Victoria Cornelius would be pleased to supervise fellows who are interested in undertaking training and projects in clinical trials, network meta-analysis, Individual Patient Data meta-analysis and drug safety.

Clinical areas include dermatology, allergy, asthma, critical care and mental health.

Fellows interested in learning more about ‘digital trials’, both as an intervention and the use of routinely collected data in trial are also encouraged.

Vikki Hughes

Papworth Trials Unit Collaboration 

We would be willing and able to support fellows in adaptive designs of clinical trials and Health Economics.

Our Supervisors would include Dr Sofia Villar (Statistician) and Prof Julia Fox-Rushby (Health Economics).

Xinxue Liu

Oxford Vaccine group, part of the Oxford Primary Care and Vaccines Collaborative Clinical Trials Unit

The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) conducts national and international clinical trials and large scale epidemiological studies of new and improved vaccines for children and adults. The multidisciplinary group, led by Professor Pollard, includes paediatric consultants, clinical research fellows, adult and paediatric research nurse, and experts in clinical vaccinology, statistics, and bioinformatics.

In 2020, the OVG led the multi-country ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) Phase I-III trials, which successfully demonstrated a good level of protection and led to an approval for the emergency use in the UK by the end of 2020.

Dr Xinxue Liu is an experienced clinical trial statistician and epidemiologist. He is currently the lead statistician for several internal large scale vaccine trials, and would be pleased to supervise fellows with interests in the design and analysis of Phase I-III vaccine clinical trial, especially those who are interested in vaccine trials using controlled human infection model and cluster randomised trials.

Dr Merryn Voysey is the lead statistician for the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) trails and an expert on conducting individual participant data meta-analyses and her current research interests include maternal antibody interference, vaccine correlates of protection, and the forensic seroepidemiology of bacterial infections. She would be pleased to supervise fellows with interests in these areas.

Carrol Gamble

Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre

Statistics, clinical trials, health informatics, core outcome set methods.

Sandra Eldridge

Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit

The Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit is a UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) registered, and NIHR funded unit at the forefront of the science and execution of pragmatic clinical trials with direct relevance for practice.

We work across many different clinical areas with a particular focus on:

  • Primary Care

  • Mental Health

  • Women's Health

  • Colorectal Surgery

Further information can be found on the Clinical Strengths webpage.

We have specific methodological strengths in cluster randomised trials, stepped wedge designs, trials within cohorts, re-randomisation, and pilot and feasibility studies.