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Towards Optimising Practice: Courses for heAlth systems data in Trials.


HDR UK is the national institute for health data science, established in 2018 by a consortium of nine UK core funders. HDR UK’s mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives. It brings together over 700 people across 87 organisations, 32 locations and multiple sectors.

For their second five-year spell of funding, Cardiff University will be working with HDR UK to help deliver the ‘Transforming Data For Trials’ (TDfT) workstream. Broadly, this workstream aims to:

  • establish and support best practice for the use of Healthcare Systems Data (HSD) in clinical trials;
  • identify and remove barriers to the widespread adoption of HSD approaches.

In Cardiff, we will work with HDR UK’s training team to develop a broad spectrum of training outputs that are aimed at both trial teams, trial delivery staff, public partners and HSD custodians. Training will aim to improve access to, and use of, HSD in trials.

Cardiff-led training

Training modules will typically comprise of a series of scripted bite-sized videos (2-3 minutes), giving an overview of the topic area, and signposting of resources and further reading for those who want to learn more. Training will be free to access and hosted on HDR UK’s Futures training portal.

As well as utilising the experience of the team in Cardiff and the wider workstream, we will identify and work closely with subject matter experts to develop individual training modules.

We will ensure that the public voice is represented in all of the training modules – we will establish a public advisory group of around 10-15 public partners, recruited from across the four devolved nations, and representing a diverse range of views. This group will provide advice and feedback on potential topic areas and oversight on the development of individual modules.

Training topic areas

Identification of topic areas will be guided by parallel development of a ‘Route-map for trials using healthcare systems data”, led by colleagues in Oxford and Dundee. We will also work with the wider workstream’s “Trials Stakeholder Prioritisation Forum”, “Trials Community Insight Group” and our own public advisory group to prioritise topic areas that are important to the trials community and public partners.

As well as an introductory module, we have the following topics planned and underway.

  • Data utility
  • Governance of trials that use health systems data
  • A public facing module to introduce health systems data in trials (co-developed with our public advisory group members)
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion considerations for trials using health systems data

Future plans include:

  • Approvals and applications
  • Data processing (covering management, storage and archiving)
  • Analysis (covering code lists and working in, and setting up, secure data environments for access and analysis)

Get involved

If you have an interest in any of the topics mentioned above – or any other areas related to working with HSD – then we’d love to work with you! Get in touch with us at


Chief Investigator(s)
Funder(s) HDR UK

Key facts

Start date 1 Apr 2023
End date 31 Dec 2028
Grant value £600,000

General enquiries