Introduction to Adaptive Designs with Application

2-Day Course: Tuesday, 8th - Wednesday, 9th November 2021

The use of innovative and efficient designs to study the effects of healthcare interventions is being encouraged by various stakeholders in clinical trials research (e.g. researchers, funders, and regulators). The aim is for patients to receive effective and safe treatments as soon as possible while offering value for money to research funders. Adaptive designs are a class of trial designs that can offer these benefits by allowing planned changes to be made to an ongoing trial based on data gathered on a fraction of participants while the trial is ongoing. However, first, not all research questions require to be addressed using an adaptive design and second, these designs require special practical and statistical considerations compared to traditional fixed trials. This is a primer course on adaptive designs across disciplines beyond statistical aspects is important.


This course will introduce attendees to what adaptive designs are and why one should consider using them (opportunities) in randomised trials as well as their limitations. We will cover real-life case studies of adaptive clinical trials and key considerations during planning, conduct, and reporting. At the end of the course, for a given research question and context, attendees should be able to understand when an adaptive design is applicable, what adaptations to consider, and whether it is feasible to implement as well as awareness of implementation resources. We will offer attendees an opportunity to discuss and translate their research ideas (if they have one) into action to help them design their first adaptive trial. We will also present tips when communicating adaptive designs to key stakeholders such as funders in grant applications.

Who will benefit from the course?

Ever wondered what adaptive designs are, why more people are now talking about them, opportunities and pitfalls? If so, this course is for you as it is suitable for researchers at different stages of their research careers who have little or no knowledge of adaptive designs, but are keen to understand more about them. The course will reflect on related statistical issues but will not cover statistical methods in depth. Typical multidisciplinary participants may include:

  • trial statisticians,
  • clinical researchers,
  • study or trial managers,
  • proposal developers.


We expect attendees to have a basic understanding of randomised trials. Attendees do not necessarily need to have statistical skills or knowledge of statistical methods used in adaptive designs.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, participants should be:

  • able to understand what is an adaptive design, why one should consider using an adaptive design, and a broad range of available types of adaptive designs (in phase 2 and 3);
  • familiar with research questions that can be addressed using adaptive designs;
  • aware of a broad range of adaptive clinical trials that are ongoing or have been completed;
  • able to assess whether an adaptive design is appropriate, feasible to implement for a given research question(s)/goals and context, and worthwhile;
  • familiar with statistical and non-statistical issues that arise in adaptive clinical trials including potential sources of bias;
  • familiar with considerations during planning/design, conduct, and reporting of adaptive trials;
  • aware of available statistical and non-statistical resources available to help them design, run, and report an adaptive clinical trial;
  • familiar with aspects that are important when communicating adaptive designs (e.g. in grant proposals);
  • critically appraise an adaptive clinical trial in front of them.


Munya Dimairo, is the course leader for this NEW ScHARR Short Course.

Mike Bradburn

Date and times

2-day course: Tuesday, 8th - Wednesday, 9th November 2021


Day 1:  TBC

Day 2:  TBC


£TBC - Early Bird Rate, for confirmed bookings received on or before 11pm on 8th August 2021.

£TBC - Standard Rate, for confirmed bookings received on or before 11pm on 25th October 2021, or up until the closing date or when the course reaches full capacity, whichever is soonest.

Booking and payment

We are currently taking provisional bookings for this new and exciting ScHARR short course.  Please forward your details to Karen Holden at  A place will be reserved for you, and you will be emailed with booking details, once the course has gone live on our Online Store.

All of our ScHARR Short Course Bookings are processed through our Online Store, where all of our ScHARR short course bookings are initially processed. Payment is by Credit/Debit Card or PayPal and via Invoice (purchase order required).

If your employer will be paying your fees, and they would prefer to be invoiced, then please ensure you select the Invoice option, and provide details of the purchase order during your booking.  Please also forward a copy of the actual Purchase Order to  NB:  Bookings are not fully confirmed until receipt of purchase order is received.

If you have any queries relating to fees and payment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bookings will automatically close at 11pm on 25th October 2021, or when the course reaches full capacity, whichever is soonest.

Course materials

Course Materials will be provided via a Delegate Course Website, approximately 1 week prior to the course start date, along with an electronic version on pdf at registration. 

Hard copies of exercises will be provided throughout the course as necessary.  Hard copies of PowerPoint presentations will not be provided, but these can be printed by delegates before the start of the course via the Delegate Course Website.

Accommodation and Meals

The course fee includes lunch and refreshments throughout the 2 days of this course, plus a Course Evening Dinner, that will take place on the first evening of Monday, 9th November 2020.  (There is no additional fee).

If you have any particular dietary or access requirements, please ensure these are identified when prompted on the Online Booking, alternatively please contact Karen Holden at with details.  

NB:  Accommodation is not included.

We do however have a preferential rate of £70 for our delegates at Halifax Hall, or £50 per night at our Jonas Hotel, which is situated behind Halifax Hall.  Details of how to book this, are provided automatically upon receipt of your booking, via an automated email from the Short Course Unit, via the Online Store.

For further details please contact Karen Holden at or by telephone +44 (0) 114 222 2698.


Halifax Hall,

Endcliffe Vale Road,


S10 3ER

T. 0114 222 8810


For further information, please contact the Short Course Unit via email at or call +44 (0)114 222 2968.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 30 July 2020