Dr Beatriz Goulao receives more than £500,000 to make trials more patient-focused

University of Aberdeen clinical trial scientist, Dr Beatriz Goulao, has been awarded a New Investigator Research Grant worth more than £500,000.

The funding will be used to drive a new project looking at boosting clinical trials by making them much more patient-focused.

Over £500,000 came from the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Research and will finance a three-year project. Dr Goulao’s aims to trigger a transformation among studies by involving patients and the public in redesigning research to pinpoint the best NHS treatments.

The destination of the project – University’s Health Services Research Unit – has a wider remit to analyse ways to provide healthcare, as well as delivering training to individuals working in health services about research methods. Meanwhile, Dr Goulao will be working with an international expert advisory group, including experienced patient partners.

The project also aims to develop methods that can be used across different clinical fields and thereby help large and diverse groups of patients.

Dr Goulao, who is an advanced research fellow from the University’s Health Services Research Unit, was delighted about receiving the grant: “Previous studies I have carried out, have looked at how we can make research more relevant to patients and the public. Specifically, my research programme looks at how we can make health numbers and statistics more relevant and impactful to patients. This new study will allow us to take this further.”

She added: “A clinical trial tries to find out whether a new treatment is better than the current treatment. To make a treatment recommendation, new treatments need to be better by a certain margin. This is called the target difference. Most trials aim to detect a target difference that is important to relevant stakeholders, but they often exclude patients from decision making.”