Senior Research Fellow

MRC Methodology Research Fellow


Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 438159
Fax: +44 (0)1224 438165
Address: Health Services Research Unit
University of Aberdeen
3rd Floor, Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD



Katie Gillies is a Senior Research Fellow and MRC Methodology Fellow working in methodological research across both the Health Care Assessment and Delivery of Care Programmes within HSRU.

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.  

Katie was awarded a CSO Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009) to explore stakeholder's perspectives about the acceptability and usefulness of decision aids to support decisions about trial participation.  This work is now being further developed through support from an MRC Methodology Research Fellowship (2014). This current fellowship aims to conduct a methodological investgation of core components and outcome measures for decision aids for clinical trial participation

From May 2017 Katie took on the role of Programme Director for the Health Care Assessment programme.



Research Interests

Katie's research interests focus around improving participant experience of trial particiaption: from point of in initial contact through to feeding back results to individuals using a participant-centred perspective.  This work is multi-disciplinary and involves using mixed methods approaches to develop, evaluate and implement interventions to support decision making in this context and engages with a range of stakeholders.  Other aspects of her research are interested in developing measures to assess how potential participants make decisions about trial participation (including the development of a methodological core outcome set) and exploring what types of information people find useful for decision making.  Much of Katie’s work brings together the fields of trials methodology with shared-decision making, with a focus on bringing together these disciplines to improve decision making and research expereince for potential trial participants. Katie has initiated work relating to development and implementation of core outcome sets for methodological research problems, where originally these core outcome sets have been applied only in clinical contexts.  

Katie is also interested, more broadly, in embedding qualitative research and patient involvement in trials to improve both the experience for potential participants and the overall efficiency of the trial.  Work in this area is ongoing across the portfolio of CHaRT trials.

Links to Katie's recent projects can be seen below;

Treatment decision making for prostate cancer; a meta-ethnography of couples' experiences

Decision Aids in Randomised Trials: The DART Study

Current Research

The current projects Katie is working on are:

  • Development of a core outcome set for the EvaLuation of Interventions to improve informed Consent to randomIsed controlled Trials: The ELICIT Study.
  • Systematic techniques to enahnce retention to trials (The STEER Project);
  • Feedback matters: How should trial results be reported back to participants?
  • The what and how of outcomes of importance for evaluation of interventions to treat symptomatic uncomplicated gallstone disease.









Research Grants

  • Gillies K, Hunn A, Knapp P, Entwistle V, Humphreys R, Campbell M. Feedback matters: How should trial results be reported back to participants? Academy of Medical Sciences - Springboard Scheme. 11/17-11/19. £99,940
  • Bower P, Sanders C, Planner C, Donnelly A, Turner K, Gillies K, Young B. Patient-centred trials: developing measures to improve the experience of people taking part in clinical trials. NIHR RfPB Programme.
  • Gillies K, Treweek S, Bower P, Young B, Witham M, Wells M, Francis J. Developing theory based interventions to minimise drop-out in randomised trials. Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government’s Health & Social Care Directorate. 08/17 – 04/19. £249,649 
  • Gillies K, Cruickshank M, Newlands R, Brazelli M, Ahmed I. 'How' to measure outcomes defined as core for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to treat uncomplicated symptomatic gallstone disease: generation of consensus based recommendations. 05/17-01/18. £11,905
  • Gillies K. Recruitment and retention in RCTs: qualitative explorations across and within trials.  ISSF@Aberdeen -  Women Returners Scheme.    08/16 – 02/17. £18,016 

  • Ahmed I, Murchie P, Blazeby J, Avenell A, Hernandez R, Brazelli M, Gillies K, Norrie J, Ramsay C. .  A randomised controlled trial comparing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic cholecystectomy compared with observation/conservative management for preventing recurrent symptoms and complications in adults with uncomplicated symptomatic gallstones (C-Gall). NIHR HTA Programme. 03/16 – 08/20. £1,396,757

  • Gardner H, Gillies K, Treweek S. Putting research methodology into practice: producing useful evidence about trial recruitment strategies for trial designers and recruiters. Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Governments Health and Social Care Directorate. 07/16-08/18. £26,322

  • Rae D, Miedzybrodzka Z, McKee L, Gillies K. Towards improvement in care delivery in Huntington’s Disease (HD): Improve HD. PhD Studentship. Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Governments Health and Social Care Directorate and Scottish Huntington’s Association. 10/15 – 10/18. £182,007

  • Gillies K, Entwistle V, Treweek S, Campbell M.  Evidence informed decision aids for clinical trial participation: a methodological investigation of core components and outcome measurements.  Medical Research Council.  Strategic Skills Fellowships – Methodology Research.  £313,294. 2014-2018

  • Black M, Gillies K, Allan J, Bhattacharya S. Mode of delivery after Previous Caesarean Section: What long terms risks for offspring are yet to be identified, and how factors influence women’s preferred mode of delivery? Wellcome Trust. Research Training Fellowship (M Black). £220,774. Mar 2013-Mar 2016

  • Schumm K, Campbell M, Ramsay C, Skea Z, MacLennan S, N'Dow J. The acceptability and usefulness of a trial participation decision aid: a mixed methods study of patients and clinicians in the UK. Funded by a CSO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Services and Health of the Public Research (£167,776).  

  • McClinton S, N'Dow J, Burr J, MacLennan G, Kilonzo M, McMullan K, Schumm K, Lam TBL, Burgess N, Anson K, Preminger G, Pickard R, Patel U.  Use of drug therapy in the management of symptomatic ureteric stones in hospitalised adults: multicente placebo controlled randomised trial of calcium channel blockers (nifedipine) and alpha blockers (tamsulosin) - The SUSPEND Trial.  Funded by the NIHR HTA Programme (£1,450,240).   

Teaching Responsibilities

Katie teaches on the Qualitative Methods module for the Masters in Public Health. She also supervises post-graduate students at both Masters and PhD level.  Katie is willing to discuss potential PhD supervisions and postdoctoral mentoring arrangements within her broad areas or interest. Please contact Katie at the e-mail address shown above or enquire at the Graduate School.


BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science (2001)

PhD Biochemistry (2006)

MSc Health Services and Public Health Research (2009)


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