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Enhancing Clinical Trials through critical mass – learning from the UK Clinical Trials Unit example

Alumni, Undergraduate students, Postgraduate students, Staff, Allied health professionals
Event type
Seminar, Online and in person
School of Physiotherapy

Professor Nadine Foster (Director of The University of Queensland’s Clinical Trials Centre) Visiting Fellow, Stanley Paris Musculoskeletal and Manual Therapy Fund.

In this presentation, Professor Foster will share key learnings from international approaches including the UK – the NIHR Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) Network – an example of an international best practice clinical trials system, through her previous experience as a Director of one of the UK’s registered CTUs, and from Australia – through her recent experience of establishing the UQ Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Queensland.

The presentation will include consideration of the definition and scope of a Clinical Trials Unit/Centre, the approach taken in the UK to the establishment and maturation of the UK Clinical Trials Unit Network with national registration based on assessment of CTU competencies, and consider relevant developments within Australia including at the University of Queensland.

The presentation will be of interest to a wide audience, of trialists, methodologists, trial funders and university and healthcare research leaders.


Clinical trials are key to a modern, high performing healthcare system, providing the evidence of the efficacy, comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions and new models of healthcare.

In July 2022 the Enhancing Aotearoa New Zealand Clinical trials project funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and Manatu Hauora, Ministry of Health proposed a future direction for developing infrastructure to support equitable clinical trial activity, ensure that trials benefiting from publicly funded infrastructure are responsive to the needs of New Zealanders and ultimately enable equitable delivery of best healthcare.

Of the many current-state findings in the project report, the dearth of key infrastructure to support the development and conduct of high-quality clinical trials was highlighted (for example support to adequately develop trial proposals, cost them appropriately, access statistical expertise, trial management expertise, consumer engagement and so on).

The report recommended there should be a National Clinical Trial Infrastructure Centre and multiple Regional Clinical Trial Co-ordinating Centres around New Zealand, and that these should engage with clinical trial networks, Māori clinical trial networks and NZ researchers.

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Donna Keen



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