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All-Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research

The All-Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research was established much more recently than the other seven Hubs, with Professor Mike Clarke taking up the post of inaugural Director in March 2011. The Hub is co-hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, with Mike based in the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s. A website for the Hub is under construction and staff recruitment will take place during 2011.

The main areas of focus for the All-Ireland Hub are under discussion, but look set to include:

1. Identification of the research priorities of practitioners, patients and the public, and the implementation of clinical trials in these areas (with a particular focus on public health and mental health)

2. Methods to keep these trials simple and pragmatic

3. Development of methods to improve the use of systematic reviews in the design, conduct and interpretation of clinical trials

4. Evaluation of different means of presenting the findings of trials (to target decision makers and policy makers), with comparisons of various techniques, including the use of social media

5. Use of record linkage data and information available in the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and other databanks to identify potential participants for research and to target the dissemination of research findings

The Hub will connect to flagship projects taking place within the host institutions, including, for example, Evidence Aid within the Centre for Public Health. Partnerships are being sought between the Hub and several external organisations, including institutions in Ireland which may join the Hub with additional funding from outside the MRC.