The aim of the Midland Hub at University of Birmingham is to be a centre of excellence for trials methodology research, providing local and national researchers undertaking trials with innovative methodology for design, conduct and analysis, thereby improving the quality of trials. The Hub will develop existing expertise in trials methodology at Birmingham to deliver a high-quality Research Programme that will be of practical use to the trials community. There is a culture of collaborative working at Birmingham and the Hub will continue to cultivate regional, national and international collaborations to facilitate the successful delivery of research. A comprehensive training programme in trials methodology will train the potential experts of the future and educate trial practitioners in methodology. By providing a mechanism for advice, support and dissemination the Hub will benefit the trials community and ultimately patient care.
Our proposed research programme centres around the current specialist methodological areas but the wealth of expertise will enable us to develop new research themes identified as important by the clinical trials community. There are seven key research themes at Birmingham: (1) Quality of life evaluation for clinical and health economic assessment; (2) Discovery and evaluation of diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers; (3) Methods to obtain reliable conclusions and involve users; (4) Bayesian methods in design and analysis of trials; (5) E-trials; (6) Systematic review for clinical and health economic assessment; (7) Education in trial methodology. Methodological expertise within the Research Programme feeds into all major areas within the trial process i.e. pre-trial development, trial design and set-up, trial conduct, trial analysis and evidence synthesis.
In summary, Birmingham is at the heart of the trials community, providing academic expertise based on real-life trial experience, ready access to a wealth of datasets that can be used for methodology research, real situations in which to implement new methodology and direct support to many members of the clinical trial community. As one of the leading centres in the UK for clinical trials, the University of Birmingham is the ideal location for the Midland Hub for Trials Methodology Research.