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Trainee led research networks in the implementation and delivery of multicentre randomised trials: a model from the west midlands research collaborative


The timely delivery of randomised controlled trials across multicentre settings remains challenging. Trainees form a natural rotating network, covering most hospitals in wide geographical regions. We report the benefits of such a network with the subsequent development of a national trainee-led model.


The West Midlands Research Collaborative is a trainee-led research group. Based around rotating general surgery registrars, the group has devised, planned and delivered multicentre randomised trials. This structure has led to the development of other regional groups, which has now enabled national geographical coverage. The trainee-led approach has been mimicked in other surgical disciplines, and is emerging in some medical specialties.


Trainees from the West Midlands Research Collaborative have completed a randomised trial of over 750 patients, is close to completing a second trial of 950 patients and has recently commenced a third trial aiming for 560 patients. Development of the national structure has delivered a multicentre audit of 95 hospitals, which was devised and completed within six months. Novel strategies that have led to these successes include widespread targeting of relevant health care professionals (e.g. coffee room guerrilla tactics to engage consultants) and inclusion of patients from previously difficult to access sources (e.g. pre-operative assessment clinics and emergency settings).


This trainee-led collaborative research model has been proved feasible and has delivered high quality randomised controlled trials. The structure shown could now be applied at a national and international level, and across all medical and surgical specialties.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Bhangu, A., Pinkney, T., Magill, L. et al. Trainee led research networks in the implementation and delivery of multicentre randomised trials: a model from the west midlands research collaborative. Trials 14, O110 (2013).

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  • Timely Delivery
  • Medical Specialty
  • Regional Group
  • Emergency Setting
  • Geographical Coverage