A clinical trials scientist from the University of Aberdeen has been awarded a prestigious New Investigator Research Grant worth more than half a million pounds to lead a new project looking at improving clinical trials by making them more patient focused.
The over 500K grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) will fund Dr Beatriz Goulao, an Advanced Research Fellow from the University’s Health Services Research Unit (HSRU), to conduct a three-year project. The aim of this project is to make clinical trials more patient focused by involving patients and the public in designing studies to select the best NHS treatments. As part of the project, Dr Beatriz Goulao is currently advertising a Research Assistant position.
The home of the project, HSRU, has a national remit to research the best ways to provide health care and to train those working in health services in research methods. Dr Goulao will be working with an international expert advisory group including experienced patient partners.
Dr Goulao said: “I am so delighted to have received this grant. Previous studies I have carried out, have looked at how we can make research more relevant to patients and the public. Specifically, my research programme looks at how we can make health numbers and statistics more relevant and impactful to patients. This new study will allow us to take this further. A clinical trial tries to find out whether a new treatment is better than the current treatment. To make a treatment recommendation, new treatments need to be better by a certain margin. This is called the target difference. Most trials aim to detect a target difference that is important to relevant stakeholders, but they often exclude patients from decision making.
“This project will work with patients and the public at each step to develop methods to support their future involvement in deciding which target differences are worthwhile to them."
The project does not focus on one specific clinical field, but rather aims to develop methods that can be used across different clinical fields and, therefore, help large and diverse groups of patients. It will use creative and participatory methods to maximise the inclusivity of discussing treatment important differences and trial methods.