Support & Advice


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.

We can provide advice and help on:

  • Late phase (III/IV) randomised trials
  • Diagnostic and test evaluation studies
  • Study design, including sample size calculations
  • Systematic literature review and meta-analysis
  • Working up ideas or pilot studies into full-scale studies
  • Research costs and funding applications
  • Gaining ethical and regulatory approval
  • Randomisation procedures
  • Study co-ordination and data management
  • Protocol development and case report form design
  • Database design and computerised data management systems
  • Statistical analysis and reporting

What We Advise On 

BCTU’s focus is large scale late phase (III/IV) randomised controlled trials (RCTs), diagnostic and test evaluation studies.  Our remit is to support non-cancer research in the secondary care setting, as cancer research and primary care studies are supported by the University of Birmingham CRUK Clinical Trials Unit and Primary Care Clinical Research and Trials Unit respectively.  We do however advise on cancer research relating to 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.

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.

Non-Commercial Research

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.