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Exploring methods for borrowing evidence across baskets in a clinical trials

Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology (ICTM)

Dr Becky Turner Monday, May 17, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

What is the Project?

Basket trials are designed to study multiple patient subgroups: a single treatment is delivered to subtypes of patients with the same disease, aiming to draw conclusions about effectiveness within rather than across subtypes. This trial design is frequently used in cancer trials to evaluate the effect of targeted therapies on related cancers in multiple locations. If a basket trial includes some common and some rare disease subtypes, evidence could potentially be borrowed from the large baskets to inform estimation of treatment effect in the small baskets. The aim of this project is to explore methods for borrowing evidence across baskets or subgroups in a clinical trial, in order to provide guidance and recommendations for practice.

This PhD aims to determine when should we borrow evidence; where should we borrow evidence from; how should we choose the degree of borrowing; how can we assess/criticise what we’ve done if we borrow evidence and how we should design basket trials when we intend to borrow evidence. 

Who are the ICTM and the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL?

The MRC CTU at UCL is at the forefront of resolving internationally important questions in infectious diseases and cancer, and delivering swifter and more effective translation of scientific research into patient benefits. It does this by carrying out challenging and innovative studies, and developing and implementing methodological advances in study design, conduct and analysis. You will be joining a team of renowned experts in the field of clinical trials.


Ideally, the candidate would be numerate with a strength for developing statistical methodology and an enthusiasm for applying those methods into practice, e.g. a degree in mathematics, (medical) statistics, or a related quantitative field.

How to apply & additional information

Who are the supervisors? The primary supervisor is Dr Becky Turner. You will also be supported by secondary supervisors and a Thesis Committee (TC), which will provide degree-spanning support and advice about academic and training progress for the successful candidate over the course of the Doctoral study.

When can I start? Successful candidates are expected to commence studies in October 2021

What funding is available? We have funding available for up to 3 full time studentships in line with the current UKRI PhD studentship level. Successful candidates will be eligible to receive the equivalent of (UK) student fees and stipend.

How do I apply? We would encourage you to speak to Dr Becky Turner (email: ) in the first instance for further information. Applications by CV and covering letter should be sent to 

Deadline for applications: 17 May 2021. 

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