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Public Engagement with Clinical Trials: what and how?

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Gillies
    Dr H Morgan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

1. Background to the project:

Clinical trials and health services research rely on the voluntary participation of people. Potential participants are usually approached about the trial by clinicians or research nurses. One common reason given for withholding participation involves fear of one or more aspects of research process(es). Public engagement is the interface between research and wider society. By helping to bring these two sometimes disparate worlds together, relationships can be built to increase trust, relevance, accountability and transparency of, and in, research purposes and process(es), and researchers themselves. Engagement is also important because it can empower people to offer their insights into and feedback on our work to help ensure that the research we conduct is relevant and accessible to the societies in which we live and are striving to improve. Identifying what Public Engagement activities focussing on clinical trials have been conducted, and how these were operationalised and evaluated, will help to understand and target future activities to improve participation by identifying what works and what doesn’t, for whom and why.

2. Proposed research and techniques:

The overall aim of this mixed methods research project is to generate public focussed strategies for public engagement with clinical trials that are implementable by UK Trialists. There will be opportunities for the successful candidate to develop and refine research objectives in collaboration with the supervisory team. It is likely they will cover identifying and evaluating the range of methods, both published and not, currently used for designing and delivering public engagement with clinical trials and developing a strategy to deliver and implement effective public engagement with clinical trials activities. Techniques will involve systematic literature searching (including of grey literature) and synthesis of identified articles, consensus methods, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. There will also be an aligned programme of public engagement activities.

3. Useful previous experience for the studentship:

An undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or experience of research methods and running a research project. Specific research skills can be developed throughout the project, but any prior knowledge of systematic reviewing (quantitative and qualitative), semi-structured interviews, questionnaire design, and consensus methods would be an advantage. Any experience of previous public engagement with research/science communication would also be beneficial.

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCE. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Health Science, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.

NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR AND EXACT PROJECT TITLE ON THE APPLICATION FORM. Applicants are limited to applying for a maximum of 3 applications for funded projects. Any further applications received will be automatically withdrawn.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by a University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Scholarship. An Elphinstone Scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees only, whether home, EU or overseas.

For details of fees:

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a First Class Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree may be considered provided they have a Distinction at Masters level.

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