Support & Advice

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The BCTU provides a support and advice service to prospective clinical researchers (doctors, nurses or professions allied to medicine) covering all aspects of study design, management and analysis. 

We offer investigators help to work up their ideas or pilot studies into full-scale projects, advice on study design and methodology, advice and help with grant applications and help with literature searches.  Advice is available from an expert multi-disciplinary team on the best study management and methodology.

BCTU offers expertise on:


  • Systematic literature review and meta-analysis
  • Trial design, including appropriate sample size
  • Protocol development and case report form design
  • Research costs and funding applications
  • Establishing collaborative networks of investigators
  • Gaining ethical and regulatory approval
  • Randomisation procedures
  • Strategies for patient recruitment
  • Trial co-ordination and data management
  • Research governance and quality assurance procedures
  • Database design and computerised trial management software
  • Incorporation of health economics and quality of life measures
  • Independent data monitoring
  • Statistical analysis and reporting
  • Training courses, workshops and seminars

The Primary Care Trials team has links across the region and throughout the UK with access to more than 3000 GPs, in almost 700 practices across England and Wales, covering an estimated patient population of over four million. The team works closely with the Clinical Research Network: West Midlands (CRN-WM).

We advise on:

BCTU’s focus is large scale late phase (III/IV) randomised controlled trials (RCTs), diagnostic and test evaluation studies.

We are unable to provide advice on cohort or case-controlled studies, surveys, physiological or epidemiological studies, unless they are related to an RCT, diagnostic or test evaluation study or a systematic review.  We also have limited experience of early phase (I/II) clinical trials. Please contact your local Research Design Service, who will be able to signpost you to appropriate support.

The BCTU does not like to become involved in studies once recruitment has started, nor will the Unit undertake statistical analysis of studies where it has had no involvement in the design or management of the study.

The BCTU will only advise on and support studies that are to be funded by non-commercial sources or where industry support will be “without strings”.  It is beyond the remit of the Unit to act as the statistical centre for commercially sponsored studies.