Accessibility statement


PROMETHEUS was a major national programme of research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to facilitate the routine embedding of a methodology research study within planned host trials. Studies Within A Trial (SWAT) methodology was used to build the evidence base on participant recruitment and retention in trials, and over 40 SWATs were embedded.

Following the success of the PROMETHEUS, additional funding has been received from the NIHR to extend the project. This funding enables the PROMETHEUS team to provide ongoing support to research teams at all stages of embedding a SWAT at no cost to teams. Support includes:

  • Protocol development
  • Research ethics application advice
  • SWAT intervention selection
  • Reporting and publication guidance

Templates and text for protocols, ethics applications and example publications are available. Please contact the PROMETHEUS team on for further information.

Collaboration request: are you able to embed a SWAT?

Two specific SWAT interventions have been identified as a research priority by the PROMETHEUS team, each of which are considered to be both relatively simple and low-cost to implement within a host trial. The SWAT interventions identified are:

The PROMETHEUS team will aim to support the implementation of these two SWATs within many host trials, across a wide range of participant populations and study settings. As listed above, the PROMETHEUS team are able to provide host trial teams with support in the form of research ethics applications, protocol development, SWAT reporting and publication guidance. Following implementation, SWAT data will be obtained, collated and meta-analysed with the aim of successfully answering each of the two high-priority SWAT questions. Consequently, the contributions of each individual host trial team will help to expand the methodological evidence base for improving participant recruitment and retention within future RCTs.

If these two interventions are not suited to your host trial population but you are interested in embedding a SWAT please get in touch with the PROMETHEUS team to discuss further.

Please direct all enquires to the PROMETHEUS team

Funding available

PROMETHEUS can no longer accept applications requesting funding however ongoing support is available to all trial teams as detailed above. 

Teams wishing to submit a SWAT as part of a brand new funding application to the NIHR should consider applying to the NIHR SWAT programme. If you are considering this, we would be happy to help you build a SWAT into your new proposal.

Trial Forge SWAT Network Group

In conjunction with Trial Forge the PROMETHEUS team are currently setting up the 'Trial Forge SWAT network group'. The aim of the network is to bring groups together that are conducting SWATs so that the evidence base can be increased more efficiently, results disseminated  and SWAT research priorities identified. 
For more information please see the website:
We are looking for network members so if you are interested please get in touch. If you work with any teams who may be interested in joining the network please could you pass on the details and ask them to contact the PROMETHEUS or Trial Forge groups ( and 

SWAT Reporting Guidelines Template

As part of PROMETHEUS, we have developed a SWAT Reporting guidelines template (PDF , 560kb) based on CONSORT, in collaboration with key stakeholders. We hope the SWAT reporting template will support trial teams to publish short but robust reports of their SWATs.
We are currently piloting this guideline and we encourage trialists wishing to publish their SWAT to do so using this template, and we welcome feedback from all those who use it. To provide feedback, please email:

Collaborations and useful links:

Press release

For further details about PROMETHEUS please see the following press release.

Frequently asked questions about SWATs

For general information about SWATs and how they can be implemented in your trial, please see the SWATs Frequently Asked Questions (MS Word , 26kb).

Project details


Medical Research Council

Grant number MR/R013748/1

Sponsor: University of York
Start date: 1st April 2018
End date: 30th September 2020


Contact us

To contact the PROMETHEUS team, please email: Alternatively you can contact individual team members using the contact details below:

YTU Team

External Collaborators


Medium size YTU logo (fits in right hand column)

Medical Research Council Logo SWATs