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Professor David Torgerson
Director, York Trials Unit



Professor David Torgerson, Director of the York Trials Unit, joined the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York in 1995 and became the Director of the York Trials Unit in 2002. Originally a health economist, he is a trial methodologist and has published widely on the design and conduct of randomised controlled trials including the book “Designing Randomised Controlled Trials in Health, Education and the Social Sciences (Palgrave Macmillan 2008)”. David has over 250 peer reviewed publications.  

As well as designing healthcare trials, David works across the social sciences developing policy trials including a number of educational trials funded by the Educational Endowment Foundation and Criminal Justice evaluations as well as having collaborated with the Behavioural Insights Team at the Cabinet Office.  He also helps organise the Annual Conference in Trials in the Social Sciences.


  • MSc
  • PhD
  • Diploma in Health Economics

Departmental roles

  • Module leader for Randomised Controlled Trial modules
  • Member of research committee
  • Joint module leader for Systematic Reviews



David's research interests include trials methodology, musculoskeletal problems, falls, osteoporosis and innovative trial designs.


  • ABRA - Online Reading Support Abracadabra.
  • CASPAR - Collaborative care in screen- positive elders.
  • CONNECT- Co-Production of Policing Evidence, Research and Training: Focus Mental Health
  • CPIT III - The Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy Incentives Trial: A Multi-centre phase III Randomised Controlled Trial.
  • E-PLAYS - Evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic LAnguage skills for Young children with Social communication disorder’: A feasibility study.
  • EVerT2- Effective Verruca Treatments.
  • Gentle Years Yoga (GYY) - Individually randomised controlled, two arm, pragmatic, multi-centre trial to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of an adapted yoga programme for older adults with multimorbidity.
  • MiQUIT 3 - RCT and meta-analysis testing effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a tailored text message programme (MiQuit) for smoking cessation in pregnancy
  • Online Maths Tuition - Independent Evaluation of the Third Space Learning’s Online Maths Tuition Service – A cluster randomised controlled trial.
  • OTIS - Occupational Therapist Intervention Study.
  • PRESTO - Pragmatic Randomised Evaluation of Stable Thoracolumbar fracture treatment Outcomes
  • PROFHER- Proximal Fracture of the Humerus: Evaluation by Randomisation.
  • PROFHER 2 - Proximal Fracture of the Humerus: Evaluation by Randomisation Trial no. 2.
  • PROMOTE-A pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of methotrexate to treat painful knee osteoarthritis.
  • REACCT - the randomised evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of computerised therapy.
  • ReflectED - Evaluate the effectiveness of ReflectED on maths and reading outcomes for pupils in both KS1 and KS2.
  • RETREAT - Funded by Arthritis Research UK investigating whether treatment can be successfully withdrawn from patients with psoriatic arthritis who are in minimal disease activity.
  • SCIMITAR+-Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness
  • Tutor Trust Affordable Primary Tuition
  • YLST - Yorkshire Lung Screening Trial

Research group(s)


David is keen to supervise PhDs in the areas of: randomised trials and methodology of randomised trials.


Full publications list



  • HYMS students - Trials and Falls prevention


David is able to supervise Masters students with an interest in randomised controlled trials.  Projects might include pilot/feasibility trials, Studies within a Trial (SWATs) (e.g., methods to improve recruitment or retention to trials), secondary analysis of existing trials, methodological reviews of randomised trials.  He also has an interest in musculoskeletal disorders and can supervise systematic reviews of RCTs in the area.

External activities

Editorial duties

  • British Medical Bulletin

Invited talks and conferences

  • Meeting at Parliament about trials in social policy
  • Café Scientifique: trials in politics and public policy

Media coverage

Newspaper coverage of:

  • Test, Learn, Adapt (Co-authored Cabinet Office paper on using trials in social policy)

Newspaper, Radio and TV coverage of:

  • Yoga trial
  • Radio 4 interview on Farming Today on badger culling

David Torgerson

Contact details

Professor David Torgerson
Director, York Trials Unit

Tel: 01904 32(1340)