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York Trials Unit celebrates 21 years of success in health care

Posted on 27 November 2017

The University of York is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its ground breaking trials unit, which has helped improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care.

Founded in 1996, the York Trials Unit undertakes large, national, complex trials on programmes ranging from back pain to mental health, and rheumatoid arthritis to criminal justice.

With over 60 members of staff delivering 40 ongoing studies, the York Trials Unit, based in the University’s Department of Health Sciences, is a UK Clinical Research Collaboration registered trials unit and has a major impact on clinical practice.

It is one of only seven Royal College of Surgeons registered trials units and consequently one of its largest programmes of work is around orthopaedic and trauma trials.

Celebratory event

It also has a programme of non-health care trials, particularly in education and criminal justice, and has hosted the Annual Conference of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) in the Social Sciences for 12 years.

To mark its landmark anniversary, a special celebratory event will be held on Tuesday 28 November at the Berrick Saul Building, University of York. Guest speakers will include Hywel Williams, Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme, and Ian Russell, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Trials, Swansea University Medical School and Honorary Professor at Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics.


Professor David Torgerson, Director of the York Trials Unit, said: “Our multidisciplinary team at the York Trials Unit undertakes ground breaking, scientifically rigorous, randomised trials of the effectiveness and efficiency of existing or potential health care interventions in health care, education and crime and justice.

“Our success over the past 21 years is due largely to the expertise and commitment of our staff, as well our excellent partnerships with colleagues in the NHS, public health, social care and the social sciences.”


As well as standard trials, the York Trials Unit uses many innovative and unusual trial designs, working in partnership with organisations including the British Heart Foundation, the Department of Health, the NHS, Wellcome, the Medical Research Council (MRC), Arthritis Research campaign, Hull York Medical School and York District Hospital.

Its main source of funding is from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), which also supports the York Trials Unit with an infrastructure award. Other sources include the MRC, charities, the Educational Endowment Foundation, the Department of Health, the EU, and the Home Office.

Media enquiries

Caron Lett
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323918