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About York Trials Unit

York Trials Unit designs and carries out scientifically rigorous, randomised controlled trials. All of our research focuses on health and wellbeing. 


We have a proven ability to adapt our trial expertise, knowledge and infrastructure, gained primarily within the NHS, to any clinical or non-clinical health and care field. Our research always meets the highest scientific and ethical standards.


Our more than 120-strong unit, led by Director Professor Catherine Hewitt, and Deputy Director Jude Watson takes trials and other research projects from inception to successful conclusion. We maintain strong networks with other specialists and welcome research collaborations. 

Our main role

  • to provide academic leadership for trials and related research work 
  • to deliver rigorous trials 
  • to provide support to trials and related research work external to YTU
  • to develop new trial methodologies.

Contributions to national research work, strategy and networking 

We are a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England Surgical Trials Initiative, and also work in partnership with the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Heart Foundation Research Collaborative

YTU staff are, or have been, members of NIHR, MRC and other funding panels. They also provide advice to the Cabinet Office on trial design and on analysis for Government Departments. Our researchers regularly act as expert reviewers for funding panels, and external advisors on Trial Steering and Data Monitoring Committees for studies run by other CTUs. 

We lead on one of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Research Support Service (RSS) Hubs, in partnership with the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds. The Hub brings together expertise in all aspects of research design, delivery and patient and public involvement in research across health, public health and social care. The team at York includes researchers from the Centre for Health Economics, Social Policy Research Unit, York Trials Unit, and other units within the Department of Health Sciences.

Teaching and supervision

YTU delivers Masters level modules on Randomised Controlled TrialsPractical Randomised Controlled Trials, Introduction to Health Statistics and Measurement in Health and Disease. Members of our staff also teach several postgraduate statistics courses and contribute to teaching other Masters level modules including evidence synthesis, quasi experimental design in health policy, research methods and clinical trials within mechanisms to therapy.

We supervise and mark Masters level dissertations, and support pre-doctoral, doctoral and postdoctoral students and fellowships. We invest in staff development and hosting research students.


Our conferences include:

  • The International Conference of Randomised Trials in the Social Sciences
  • The International Conference on Stepped Wedge Trial Design