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21-25 September 2020, Merton College, University of Oxford

This annual course provides a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) for evaluating healthcare interventions. You will learn from an interdisciplinary faculty of clinicians, statisticians, and trial managers, all with a wealth of RCT experience. The course uses a problem-based learning approach, including lectures and small-group practical sessions, and grounds all learning in practical experience and examples from the literature.



  • Clarify the fundamental principles and practice of RCTs
  • Present the optimal methodology to use in RCTs
  • Examine the critical issues involved in planning, conducting and completing a successful trial
  • Provide a basic understanding of the statistics used to plan and analyse RCTs
  • Teach critical appraisal skills and practice appraising RCT papers

COURSE Faculty

Course faculty include:

  • Prof David Beard, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Prof Mike Clarke, Director, MRC All-Ireland Trials Methodology Research Hub, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Associate Prof Jonathan Cook, University Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences and Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford.
  • Prof Richard Emsley, Professor of Medical Statistics and Trials Methodology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King's College London.
  • Prof Ed Juszczak, Director, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit Clinical Trials Unit, University of Oxford.
  • Prof Graeme MacLennan, Professor of Medical Statistics and Director of the Centre for Health Care Randomised Trials (CHaRT), Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen.
  • Dr Ines Rombach, Medical Statistician, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford.
  • Dr Michael Maia Schlussel, Medical Statistician, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford.


If you are planning or actively involved in trials, or are interested in furthering your knowledge of trial methodology, this course is for you. It is ideal for those early in their career or those looking for a refresher course, as it provides an overview of all elements of an RCT. We welcome applications from clinical and non-clinical researchers and other professionals allied to medicine.


Monday 21 September to Friday 25 September 2020

A typical day runs from 9am to 5:30pm, with a banquet on the evening of Thursday 24 September and an early finish at 2pm on Friday 25 September after lunch.

The course will be held at Merton College, a historic college located in Oxford city centre.


£1500 (£1350 when payment is made before 31 March 2020).

Fees include daily lunch and refreshments, a course dinner (Thursday evening), and a comprehensive delegate’s pack including all course materials.

Bed and breakfast accommodation is available at the college for an additional £90/night.


Please contact Jacqueline Wright on for more information and to request an application form.

Doug Altman Scholarship

In memory of course founder Prof Doug Altman, one sponsored place is available for an applicant from an LMIC (lower-to-middle-income country) or a student. Sponsorship covers the course fee and accommodation at Merton College. Selection is at the discretion of the course organisers.

If would you like to be considered for the sponsored place, please complete the relevant section of the course application form to explain how you meet the criteria and tell us why you would like to attend this course. Applications must reach us by 31 March 2020.