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NIHR Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Round 5 Host Organisations 2023


Published: 24 January 2023

Version: 1.0

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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 an 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 NIHR website.

Last updated: 16th January 2023

Keele Clinical Trials Unit

Sarah Lawton


Support areas:

  • 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

King's Clinical Trials Unit

Caroline Murphy


Phone: 0207 848 5273

Support areas:

  • Trials of complex interventions: quality control and adaptive designs
  • Efficient development of databases
  • Long term follow up
  • Efficacy designs to reduce non compliance
  • Trials within cohort studies

Bristol Trials Centre

Rebecca Kearney


Support areas: Bristol Trials Centre is a large multidisciplinary CTU and 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. 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.

Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU)

Chris Partlett


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

York Trials Unit

David Torgerson


Support areas: We are happy to support Fellowships in:

  • Medical Statistics,
  • Clinical Trial Design,
  • Mixed Methods and
  • Qualitative Research

Leicester Clinical Trials Unit

Gavin Murphy


Support areas: Contact for information.

Cancer Research UK, Clinical Trials Unit, Birmingham

Simon Gates


Support areas: CRCTU conducts a wide variety of trials, from early-phase dose finding and efficacy studies to large-scale studies intended to determine clinical practice. Cancer trials are obviously an important component of our portfolio, but we also work in other therapeutic areas, including rheumatology, cardiology, ophthalmology and neurology. A particular focus is on innovative and efficient trial designs, including adaptive trials, platform studies and Bayesian methods. We would welcome interest from applicants interested in projects in medical statistics, clinical trial design, or operational aspects of clinical trials

Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit, University of Plymouth

Chris Hayward


Support areas: Contact for information.

Imperial Clinical Trials Unit

Professor Victoria Cornelius


Support areas: Victoria would be pleased to hear from prospective fellows who are interested in undertaking training and projects in: the design and analysis of clinical trials in rare disease; the collection and analysis of adverse events in clinical trials; adaptive trial design and analysis. She has experience in the clinical areas of allergy & asthma, critical care, mental health, and surgery.

Dr Suzie Cro


Support areas: Dr Suzie Cro would be pleased to supervise fellows who are interested in handling missing data in randomised controlled trials, or Estimands and the handling of post-randomisation intercurrent events, such as rescue medication and treatment non-compliance in randomised controlled trials.

Papworth Trials Unit Collaboration

Vikki Highes


Support areas: 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).

Exeter Clinical Trials Unit, University of Exeter

Professor Siobhan Creanor

Email: and

Support areas: Exeter CTU has a growing portfolio of trials including in the areas of dementia, mental health, orthopaedics and trauma, diabetes, emergency medicine and Covid-19. Studies include regulated drug trials, surgical, device and apps trials, and trials of complex interventions. Our staff have expertise and interest in supporting applications in the following areas: medical statistics (including meta-analysis); clinical trial design and analysis (including estimands; combining observational and trial data); health economics (including modelling); qualitative research; evidence synthesis. The University of Exeter also offers a number of potentially relevant Masters degrees.

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

Dr Xinxue Liu


Support areas: 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.

Queen Mary University of London Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit (PCTU)

Richard Hooper


Support areas: The Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit are world-leaders in the science and execution of pragmatic clinical trials and we have a number of potential supervisors who are keen to support promising candidates. Our staff have interests and expertise in the following areas:

  • Cluster randomised trials and stepped wedge trials
  • Pilot and feasibility studies
  • Trials within cohorts
  • Trial processes (e.g. informed consent, recruitment)
  • Learning Health Systems
  • Decision-analytic modelling
  • Heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness
  • Health outcomes in economic evaluation
  • Health policy analysis

Lancashire Clinical Trials Unit, University of Central Lancashire

Gordon Prescott


Support areas: The Lancashire CTU team has accrued many years of experience in the skills required to develop, manage and analyse clinical trials with a growing specialisation in phase III trials of complex interventions, and in particular, feasibility trials.

We would be very pleased to host a Fellowship and are able to provide support in methodological research in trial design, complex intervention design and delivery, cluster trials, medical statistics, health economic evaluation, systematic review and meta-analysis.

We have close links with health and governmental organisations through the Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC).

In addition we collaborate with colleagues at Lancaster University, having close links to the MSc Statistics (Medical pathway) providing projects and supervision for students in the programme.