Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Clare Relton, BA Hons, FSHom, MSc, PhD


Senior Lecturer in Clinical Trials

Telephone: +44 0207 882 6696


Clare's first degree was in Philosophy. In 2003 she was awarded a fellowship by the Department of Health which enabled her to undertake her MSc in Health Services Research and a PhD in how to design practical trials of interventions to improve health.

Since the publication of the design in the BMJ in 2010 she has enjoyed supporting others in the development and application of this approach to pragmatic trial design, including leading meetings bringing together triallists, regulators, and ethicists to share their ideas, learning and experiences with this design approach.

In addition to her methodological interests Clare designs and leads pragmatic intervention trials particularly in the field of public health and public health nutrition. Her current work includes (i) leading the CLAHRC funded Yorkshire Health Study – a large regional population based observational study and multiple trials facility, (ii) leading the MRC/ NPRI funded NOSH Project (Vouchers for Breastfeeding) cluster randomised controlled trial (2012-2017), the results of which will be published later this year, (iii) leading the MRC PHIND funded FRESH Street Project (2017-2019) which is developing and feasibility testing an area based intervention which offers weekly vouchers for locally supplied (non-supermarket) fresh fruit and vegetables to people in areas with poor diet and health.

Clare is generally interested in trialling any intervention which might bring practical health benefits, especially those which support healthy lifestyles, and empower people and the communities they live in to support their own health needs.


Clare is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Trials at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health here at QMUL and a Senior Research Fellow at ScHARR (University of Sheffield). Here she specialises in the design and conduct of pragmatic trials and innovation in the methods used in pragmatic clinical trials and also provides advice for the London Research Design Service.


Topics for PhD supervision

Trial methodology

  • Informed Consent – bridging the gap between routine healthcare and research
  • Trials within Cohorts, Registries and Administrative Databases
  • Micro trials – small scale multiple trial infrastructures in primary and secondary care


Financial incentives and health-related behaviours

Homeopathic medicine and/or Treatment by a Homeopath


Research Interests:

Developing methods used to:

  • Embed multiple trials within cohorts (TwiCs) and other existing data structures
  • Embed Studies within Trials (SWATs)
  • Ensure informed consent procedures for trials are fully practical and ethical


Relton C, O'Cathain A, Nicholl J, Torgerson D. Rethinking pragmatic randomised controlled trials: Introducing the "cohort multiple randomised controlled trial" design. BMJ 2010 340(7753):963-967

Relton, Clare; Strong, Mark; Renfrew, Mary J; et al; Cluster randomised controlled trial of a financial
incentive for mothers to improve breast feeding in areas with low breastfeeding rates: the NOSH study protocol.
 BMJ Open, 6, 4, e010158, 2016.

Relton C, Bissell P, Smith C, Blackburn J, Tod A, Copeland R, Young T, Cooper CL, Nichol J, Loban A, et al. South Yorkshire Cohort: a 'cohort trials facility' study of health and weight - protocol for the recruitment phase. BMC Public Health 11:640 2011

Relton C, O'Cathain A, Nicholl J, Strong M, Holdsworth M. Plastic food packaging encourages obesity. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 344:3824, 2012

Viksveen P, Relton C. Nicholl JN. Depressed patients treated by homeopaths: a randomised controlled trial using the "cohort multiple randomised controlled trial" (cmRCT) design. Trials 2017, 18, 299. DOI 10.1186/s13063-017-2040-2

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