A partnership to train the next generation of trials methodologists has been awarded funding by the Medical Research Council through their Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) competition.
The Trials Methodology Research Partnership DTP brings together 12 partners – the University of Liverpool, the Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Queen Mary University London, University College London, the Universities of Aberdeen, Bangor, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds and Plymouth to provide doctoral training to 30 students for the next 3 years.
The Partnership DTP is one of 17 projects funded by the MRC as part of a £79million investment to support high-quality doctoral training programmes that take a student-centred approach, focusing on scientific excellence, positive research culture and wider training opportunities.
Led by the University of Liverpool, the Trials Methodology Research Partnership DTP will develop and train a cohort of researchers with methodological skills and insight beyond clinical trials, filling a strategic skills priority gap.
It will provide a new generation of trials methodologists with the skills and experience to address the new challenges brought by high-dimensional data, such as genomic information, and harness opportunities offered through digital technologies and informatics to improve trial design, conduct and analysis for the benefit of patients.
Professor Thomas Jaki and Dr Sofia Villar from the MRC Biostatistics Unit will be leading projects as part of the DTP which will focus on innovative, efficient clinical trial designs and analysis, and is integral in providing training on novel trials designs to the PhD student cohort.
Professor Jaki said:
I am excited about this unique doctoral training programme as it not only spans all aspects of trials methodology – from traditional topics such as design to emerging topics such as remote monitoring or consent – but also includes a wide range of partners, each with a unique, complementary, focus. As a result of this, I believe that this programme will result in the next generation trials methodologists that will shape the way we undertake trials for a long time into the future.
Dr Sofia Villar added:
I am delighted to have the chance to influence the aspects of innovative trial design that this cohort of students may get to tackle as much as seeing the new research directions that will be pursued by them.
The Trials Methodology Research Partnership builds on the success of the MRC Network of Hubs for Trials Methodology Research which was created to improve health by improving trials.
Investments in doctoral training are a key component of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the MRC’s overarching vision to develop research talent and skills.