MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership launched

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Over 730 delegates from 23 countries recently attended the 5th International Clinical Trial Methodology Conference (ICTMC), held in Brighton, 6-9th October. ICTMC 2019 celebrated 10 years of the MRC Network of Hubs for Trials Methodology Research (HTMR) and launched the recently funded MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) led by the University of Liverpool*.

Conference recognised the outstanding contribution Professor Doug Altman (1948-2018) made to improve the quality of medical research. The inaugural ICTMC Doug Altman Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Marion Campbell (University of Aberdeen), who gave an insightful talk on “The future of the randomised controlled trial in the era of real world evidence”.

ICTMC 2019 also hosted the Annual Cochrane REWARD Prize 2019 event, celebrating initiatives which aim to reduce waste in research. Presentations were given from the shortlisted finalists and Dr Joan Marsh, Deputy Editor of The Lancet Psychiatry, presented prizes to Professor Shaun Treweek (University of Aberdeen) for the Trial Forge initiative, Ms. Mira van der Nald (University Medical Center Utrecht) for Preclinicaltrials.eu: international register of preclinical trial protocols, and Professor Chris Weir (University of Edinburgh) for collaborative work on the Meta Analysis of Skewed data (MASK).

Mrs Karen Hughes, PhD student in the University's Department of Biostatistics was awarded the ICTMC 2019 Best Student Oral Presentation prize for her talk titled “Exploring the barriers and facilitators to core outcome set (COS) uptake”.

Professor Paula Williamson, Chair of the MRC HTMR Network and lead for the new partnership*, spoke on behalf of all those attending when noting “our thanks to the MRC and NIHR for their continued support for trials methodology research, which has allowed us to build a community working to improve health by improving trials”.

Accepted ICTMC 2019 abstracts have now been published in the journal Trials.

*The partner organisations joining the MRC HTMR Network in the new TMRP are:

• The Global Health Network (TGHN)

• Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN)

• Health Data Research UK

• UKCRC Registered CTU Network

• UK Trial Managers’ Network (UK TMN)

In addition, groups from 25 universities are collaborating to offer doctoral training to the new MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership PhD student cohort.