Dr Kate Gillies

Dr Kate Gillies
Director, Health Care Assessment Programme

Senior Research Fellow

I am currently accepting PhDs in Applied Health Sciences.

Dr Kate Gillies
Dr Kate Gillies

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438159
fax +44 (0)1224 438165
The University of Aberdeen Health Services Research Unit
University of Aberdeen
3rd Floor, Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD


Katie Gillies is Director of the Health Care Assessment Programme and Senior Research Fellow working in Methodological Research related to participant centred trials.

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, which supported by transition to Research Fellows supported by indenepndent fellowship (CSO then MRC). My research interests focus on the design and delivery of participant centred trials: from point of in initial contact through to feeding back results to individuals.  This work is multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder and involves using mixed methods approaches to develop, evaluate and implement interventions to support decision making in this context. I am also interested in the application of behavioural science to trials methodology. For example, framing problems of recruitment and retention as behaviours and exploring the opportunities to improve these aspects through the design of participant centred, theoretically informed, interventions. 

I also lead the  mixed-methods process evaluations and patient involvement in many of our 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




MSc, Public Health and Health Services Research University of Aberdeen 2009
PhD, Biochemistry University of Dundee 2007
BSc (Hons), Biomedical Science Glasgow Caledonian University 2001

Research Areas


  • Applied Science
  • Healthcare Science

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Research Overview

Trials methodology; behavioural science; behaviour change; participant experience; process evaluations; mixed-methods.


Current Research

Methodological Research realted to RCTs

Behavioural interventions to improve clinical trial recruitment and retention

BadRaP: Using behavioural science to understand and improve participation in clinical trials

RECAP: Feedback matters: How should trial results be reported back to participants?

ORINOCO: Optimising Resource-use IN Outcome Collection

PoINT: Public involvement in Numerical aspects of Trials


Process evalutions within ongoing RCTs

REGAL: Recurrence of Endometriosis: A randomised controlled trial of clinical and cost-effectiveness of Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone Analogues with add-back hormone replacement therapy

DIAMOND: Deep infiltrating endometriosis: management by medical treatment versus early surgery

UK REBOA: A randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) for trauma

C-GALL - 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


Other applied Health Services Research Projects

I-TRAC - In-home Tracking of glaucoma: Reliability, Acceptability, and Cost: the I-TRAC Study

REINFORCE - Real-World Evaluation of Robot-Assisted Surgical Services (REINFORCE): Work Package 1 - Optimisation of RAS implementation and scale up  (WP1)

RoboCOS: What outcomes are important for evaluating robotic assisted surgery as a service-level change? An outcome mapping exercise to inform core outcome set development 

TestES Consortium: Testosterone Effects and Safety in Men with Low Testosterone levels

Past Research

STEER: Systematic Techniques to Enhance Retention in RCTs

ELICIT: Development of a core outcome set for the EvaLuation of Interventions for informed Consent for randomIsed controlled Trials: The ELICIT Study

Evidence-informed decision aids for clinical trial participation: a methodological investigation of core components and outcome measures

PRioRITY II: Prioritising Retention in Randomised Trials 

PACT: Patient-centred trials (PACT): developing measures to improve the experience of people taking part in clinical trials







My current supervision areas are: Applied Health Sciences.

I supervise a range of clinicl and non-clinical PhD candidiates, recent exmaples include:

Behavioural interventions to improve clinical trial recruitment and retention - Taylor Coffey

Towards improvement in care delivery in Huntington's disease (HD) - Daniela Rae

Recruiting women during pregnancy and childbirth to clinical trials - Vivienne Hanrahan (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Developing a mouth self-exam intervention for early detection of oral cancer - Niall McGoldrick (University of Dundee)


Recently completed

What is the best way to avoid recruitment and retention problems in trials? - Adel El Feky

Making clinical trials more efficient: consolidating, communicating and improving knowledge of patient recruitment interventions - Heidi Gardner



Research Funding and Grants

I have been involved as a co-applicant and work package lead on a portfolio of national and international grants generating in excess of £11 million, with almost £2 million as Chief Investigator, predominantly over the past 5 years. These awards include a range of funders, methodolgoical and appleid research, but all are relevant for national or international heakthcare. Recent awards include:

  • Howick J, Gillies K, Treweek S, Bower S, Edwards A, Bostock J, Hood K. PrinciPIL: Developing and Testing PILs that do not Cause Harm. MRC Better methods, better research Programme.  MRC Better Reseaech, Better Methods Programme.   £312,832 01/21 - 08/22
  • Cooper K, Clark J, Gillies K, Maclennan G, Scotland G, Bhattacharya S, Cox E, Horne A, Byrne D, Smith P, Amer S, Gamaleldin I, Vashisht A, Murchie P. Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis: Management by Medical Treatment or Early Surgery (DIAMOND). NIHR HTA Programme. 02/21. £1,528,925
  • Brehaut J, Presseau J, Gillies K, Grimshaw J, Ramsay C, Duncan E, Fergusson D, Marlin S, Graham I, Spencer H, Weijer C, Taljard M, Gordon J, Richards D, Rodger M.  Using behavioural science to understand and improve participation in clinical trials. CIHR. 02/21-02/26
  • Kaye C, Gillies K, Laidlaw L, Treweek S. Delivering Inhaled Corticosteroids for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: a feasibility study to inform a randomised trial. NHS Grampian Endowments awards. 10/20-01/21.
  • Shaikh S, Campbell MK, Gillies K. RoboCOS: Development of a core outcome set for robotic assisted surgery. NHS Grampian Endowments awards. 10/20-01/21. 
  • Beard D, Campbell MK, Gillies K. A Real-World, In Situ, Evaluation of the introduction and scale up of Robot Assisted Surgical Services Across England: Evaluating its impact on clinical and service delivery, effectiveness and cost. Intuitive Surgical Sarl. October 2020-October 2021. £146575 
  • Gillies K (CI), Azuara-Blanco A, Hernandex R, Forrest M, Maclennan G. Digital technologies for home monitoring glaucoma: a feasibility study. NIHR HTA Programme. January 2020. £289,313 
  • Gillies K (CI) & Clarke M. Strategies to improve retention to randomised trials. NIHR Incentive Scheme. £8833. January 2020.
  • Saraswat L, Gillies K, Maclennan G, Scotland G, Cooper K, Bhattacharya S, Cox E, Jones G.  REGAL: Recurrence of endometriosis: GnRH anlogues versus Laparoscopic surgery. NIHR HTA Programme. 08/19. £1,660, 142
  • Williamson PR, Emsley R, Sydes M, Land T, Brown J, Lalloo D, Mabey D, Hood K, Devane D, Farrell B, Allen E, Kirkham J, Gillies K, Yap C, Blazeby J, Avery K, Weir C, Jaki T, Wason J, Hughes D, Farron A, Morris T, Landray M, Wordsworth S, Villar Moreschi S. Trials Methodology Research Partnership, Medical Research Council. 06/19. £458,665
  • Treweek S, Gillies K, Gardner H, Pickles D, El Feky A, Dawson A.  A Good Use Of Time And Money? Providing Evidence For How Effort Is Invested In Primary And Secondary Outcome Data Collection In Trials. Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government’s Health & Social Care Directorate. 03/19-02/21. £224,213
  • Gillies K (CI), Knapp P. Hunn A, Humphreys R, Entwistle V, Campbell M. Feed back matters: how should trial results be fed back to trial participants? Academy of Medical Sciences. 11/17-10/19. £99,964. 23.
  • Gillies K (CI), 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 – 09/19. £249,649







Teaching Responsibilities

I teach on the Qualitative Methods module for the Masters in Public Health. I supervise Masters students across the MPH and other in-person adn online Masters courses. I contribute to the Real World RCTs and PPI in trials modules that HSRU has developed.



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