NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre celebrates clinical trials day



Staff from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) will be encouraging more people to get involved in clinical research this Thursday (18 May), as part of International Clinical Trials Day.


Research teams will be in outpatients’ reception at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH), to talk to patients, staff and visitors about the importance of clinical trials. 

This is part of a national campaign coordinated by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) under the banner ‘I Am Research’. The day is chosen to coincide with International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) on 20 May, which commemorates the work of James Lind who pioneered clinical research with the first ever trial on the deadly disease scurvy.

Each year thousands of people volunteer and help to make a difference to the future of medicine by participating in research. Currently at CUH there are around 1,000 research studies underway, in cancer, cardiovascular and dementia to name a few.

To celebrate ICTD, staff will be showcasing their work and explaining what clinical trials mean to the NHS. 

For example, the NIHR Cambridge BioResource is a panel of thousands of volunteers that have consented and donated a small sample of blood or saliva for DNA analysis. This information can then be used to support researchers who select volunteers according to their genetic information. This means that only volunteers with the desired genotype are invited to studies, therefore reducing the time to recruit and complete a study, and is more efficient than traditional recruitment methods.

The Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility teams will be discussing what happens when you take part in a clinical trial.

The Patient Led Research Hub is an exciting innovation which gives patients and patient groups the opportunity to propose research questions which matter to them. The unit then assesses whether this is a viable project and helps patients develop the research question and apply for funding.

As part of the day there will also be a demonstration of a mock clinical trial - ‘The Chocolate Trial’. Volunteers who agree to take part will be given one of two types of chocolate, at random, and asked to rate their feelings after eating it. This fun trial aims to explain the consenting process and what randomisation means.  The chocolate has been provided by Harry Specters, a chocolate company in Ely who specialise in providing work for people with autism.

Georgina Norris, Patient and Public Engagement Coordinator for the NIHR Cambridge BRC said: “We’re looking forward to celebrating ICTD and promote the wonderful work that is happening at the Cambridge BRC. We hope we can encourage more people to get involved in research and learn all about taking part in a clinical trial.”

The information stand will be in the outpatients department between 11am-3pm, on Thursday 18 May. All are welcome to learn about clinical trials.

About he National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

  • Funds high quality research to improve health
  • Trains and supports health researchers
  • Provides world-class research facilities
  • Works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • Involves patients and the public at every step

About Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre

Based within the most outstanding NHS and University partnerships in the country, the Biomedical Research Centres are leaders in scientific translation. They receive substantial levels of funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to translate fundamental biomedical research into clinical research that benefits patients and they are early adopters of new insights in technologies, techniques and treatments for improving health. 

About Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH)

Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is one of the largest and best known hospitals in the country. As well as delivering care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie, it is also:

  • a leading national centre for specialist treatment for rare or complex conditions
  • a government-designated biomedical research centre
  • one of only five academic health science centres in the UK
  • a university teaching hospital with a worldwide reputation
  • a partner in the development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus

CUH’s vision is to be one of the best academic healthcare organisations in the world.


Top Left – Ashley Thorpe, Clinical Trials Coordinator

Top Right - Burcu Babaogan Fiehler, Senior Clinical Trials Coordinator

Bottom Left - Francis Dowling, Senior Clinical Trials Coordinator

Bottom Right – Kerrie Brusby, Data Manager


For further information, please contact:

Viv Northrop, BRC Communications Manager
Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus, Hills Road,  Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
Tel: 01223 254619 Email: