A Word from the Director

Stephen Walters

Welcome to the second newsletter from the Design, Trials and Statistics (DTS) section at the University of Sheffield.  We are aiming to communicate with many people - colleagues and collaborators, clients and research funding bodies, potential and previous students.

Everyone we know will be added to our mailing list, and if you’ve received the newsletter second-hand you can contact us to join the list by sending your details to:


Design, Trials & Statistics (DTS) is a section within the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and consists of three subgroups:

1. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service for Yorkshire and the Humber (RDS YH);
2. Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU);
3. Medical Statistics Group (MSG).

The group aims to design, conduct, analyse and report high quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and other studies to evaluate the effectiveness of new services, therapies and health technologies; with the aim of improving the health of the public at local, regional, national and international levels.

This edition of the newsletter highlights three recently completed and published RCTs: Booster, PLINY and 3Mg carried out by staff in the section.  Two of the studies are prestigious NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) monographs, which are extensively peer reviewed, widely read and cited.

It is always good to see the results of RCTs published even though they sometimes produce unexpected, negative or equivocal results.  Provided the RCTs are soundly conducted, analysed and reported to high standards then the results and information will contribute to the research evidence base of clinical and cost-effective technologies.  This evidence base is vital to NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and other decision makers when assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new technologies.

September 2014 sees the annual Royal Statistical Society (RSS 2014) Conference take place in Sheffield. DTS’s Professor Mike Campbell is chair of conference organising committee.  The statisticians’ in DTS will have a strong presence, with oral and poster presentations, at the conference showcasing the wide variety of statistical work that DTS undertakes. More on this in the next edition of the newsletter.

This issue also highlights the fund raising efforts of two of DTS’s Professional Services staff, Claire White and Karen Beck who raised money for three good causes, Parkinson’s UK, Motor Neurone Disease Association and SITraN by running the Liverpool Marathon and Sheffield Half Marathon respectively.  Well done Claire and Karen!

We can assist your research from the earliest stages from identifying funding sources and protocol development through to implementation and publication.  If you have a study in mind, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

I hope you enjoy the newsletter.  Please do get in touch if you wish to work with us.

Professor Stephen Walters