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 David Gillespie

David Gillespie

Senior Research Fellow

+44 (0)29 2068 7610
503, Neuadd Meirionnydd, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Trials Research and a hold a five-year Health Research Fellowship awarded by Health and Care Research Wales to investigate the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in individuals at-risk of HIV-acquisition living in Wales.

My background is in Medical Statistics, and I have been working on the design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of randomised trials and other well designed studies since 2007. I completed my PhD at the end of 2016, with my thesis titled “Medication Adherence in Clinical Research and Associated Methodological Challenges”.

Clinically, my research interests focus on prudent medication use in the field of infectious diseases, and my work can be broadly split into two key areas:

  • Medication adherence – specifically, ways in which adherence to medication is conceptualised, measured, and modelled
  • The development and evaluation of antimicrobial stewardship interventions

I am also actively involved in a large programme of research in the field of intellectual disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

My areas of methodological interest include:

  • Trials and general research methodology (improving the ways in which we do randomised trials and other well designed studies)
  • Causal modelling (modelling approaches that aim to answer causal questions, rather than purely associational)
  • Missing data (prevention of, and fitting models when there are missing data).


Education and qualifications:

  • 2013 - 2016: PhD "Medication Adherence in Clinical Research and Associated Methodological Challenges" (School of Medicine) Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  • 2005 - 2009: BSc in Mathematics, Operational Research and Statistics (School of Mathematics) Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK (with placement year)

Career overview:

  • April 2020 - present: Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University
  • April 2020 - present: Senior Research Fellow in Medical Statistics (secondment), Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford
  • May 2018 - March 2020: Deputy Director of Infection, Inflammation & Immunity Trials and Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University
  • December 2016 - May 2018: Research Fellow in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University
  • October 2015 - March 2016: Methodological Consultant, Research Design and Conduct Service, Cardiff University (part-time secondment)
  • August 2015 - November 2016: Research Associate in Statistics, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University
  • March 2012 - November 2016: Research Associate in Statistics, South East Wales Trials Unit, Cardiff University
  • June 2009 - March 2012: Junior Statistician, South East Wales Trials Unit, Cardiff University
  • July 2007 - September 2008: Trainee Statistician, South East Wales Trials Unit, Cardiff University

Honours and awards

  • Nominated for a Cardiff University Celebrating Excellence Award in the category of "Rising Star" (2016)
  • Received an Outstanding Contribution Award from Cardiff University (2016)
  • Received a prize at graduation for achieving the highest grade across the School of Mathematics for my BSc dissertation (2009)

Speaking engagements

Invited speaker:

  • December 2019: PrEP seminar (hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • November 2019: PRIME annual meeting
  • June 2019: Aneurin Bevan Annual R&D Conference
  • December 2016: Infections Group Meeting within the Centre for Academic Primary Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol
  • July 2016: School of Healthcare Sciences away day, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University
  • June 2016: Royal Statistical Society Primary Healthcare Special Interest Group, RSS Headquarters, London
  • March 2015: National Parenting Coordinators' Network, Llandridnod Wells
  • May 2014: Royal Statistical Society Primary Healthcare Special Interest Group, University of Leeds

Conference presentations:

Given presentations at regional, national, and international conferences, including:

  • Regional:
    • PRIME annual meeting (2019, invited)
    • ABUHB R&D conference (2019, invited)
    • South West Society for Academic Primary Care (2008, 2014)
  • National:
    • Young Statisticians' Meeting (2010, 2011, 2013)
    • UK CRC Registered CTU Statisticians' Meeting (2012)
    • Society for Academic Primary Care (2015, 2021)
  • International:
    • International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference (2011, 2015)
    • General Practitioners' Research in Infections Network (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
    • Society for Clinical Trials (2015)
    • European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance and Persistence (2015)
    • European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disabilities (2017)

Committees and reviewing

External committees

  • Current board member for NIHR HTA Commissioning Committee
  • Current member of the Fast Track Cardiff & Vale steering group (
  • Current Independent Trial Steering Committee / Independent Data Monitoring committee member for: PROMPPT, SUPPORTBACK2, BLIPA, ATHENA, and PROMISE.

  • Previous Royal Statistical Society Primary Healthcare Special Interest Group committee member (2011 to 2014)
  • Previous board member for the Health and Care Research Wales Research for Patient and Public Benefit (RfPPB) panel (2016 to 2019)
  • Previous associate board member for NIHR HTA (2019 to 2021)
  • Previous independent member for several TSCs and IDMCs

Peer reviewer

  • I am a consulting editor in statistics for the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research.
  • I am a special edition guest editor for the journal Antibiotics
  • I peer-review submissions to The Lancet (and associated journals), BMJ Open, Journal of Infection Prevention Research, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Trials, JAIDS, Respiratory Medicine, and Patient Preference and Adherence. I also review funding applications and final reports for the NIHR, MRC, and HCRW.
















  • Since 2019/2020, I have delivered a lecture on "Randomised trials of treatment strategies to help improve antibiotic prescribing and infection-related outcomes" for the Acute Conditions Module of the Population Health Intercalated BSc.
  • During the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 academic years I ran sessions on developing study protocols as part of the Research Methods 2 module for Medical Intercalated BSc students
  • In June 2016, I co-developed and delivered a three-day course on basic data analysis using the statistical programming language R (titled "learnR") to staff at the University of Namibia as part of the Phoenix Project (
  • Previously, I have taught small and medium group sizes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level on topics including quantitative research methods, statistics, and critical appraisal


  • I have previously supervised both undergraduate and post-graduate students in the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, and School of Mathematics on topics such as methodological aspects around the evaluation of antimicrobial stewardship interventions, medication use and medication adherence, and HIV-stigma.

I am currently supervising the following registered PhD students:

Adam Williams (co-lead supervisor): Understanding the relationship between PrEP, STIs, and AMR in Wales (

Timothy Pickles (co-supervisor): Patient-reported outcome measures for rheumatoid arthritis symptom severity: development of a computer adaptive test from an item bank using Rasch measurement theory (

Mandy Lau (co-lead supervisor): The use of modern modelling methods for the statistical analysis of microbiological data in clinical trials of antimicrobial stewardship interventions (

Since 2013, I have been awarded approximately >£26m in grant funding across 30 grants, including £0.5m as lead investigator and >£7m for international research.

Research grants (most recent first):


  • Ahmed H, et al. Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Subsequent tO URInary tract infection (MISSOURI). BHF Research Grant. £220,000.
  • Nicholls J, Gillespie D. Optimising HIV Prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) service delivery models for all populations in Cardiff/Wales. HCRW NHS Research Time Award. £89,000.
  • Stone J, et al. Context-specific factors that drive HIV transmission among men who have sex with men: Modelling the role of behavioural, social and legal factors. GW4 PhD Studentship.
  • Butler CC, et al. Presentation, management and outcomes of RSV infection in adults in primary care: individual patient meta-analysis. Janssen Clinical Investigator-Initiated Study.


  • Langdon P, et al. Behavioural interventions to treat anxiety in adults with autism and moderate to severe intellectual disabilities (BEAMS – ID). NIHR HTA. £200,000.
  • Hastings R, et al. Mapping and Evaluating Services for Children with Learning Disabilities and Behaviours that Challenge (MELD). NIHR HS&DR. £1,200,000.
  • Holmes E, et al. The Economics of Rapid Diagnostics to Reduce Antibiotic Prescribing in NHS Wales (TRaDe). HCRW HRF. £350,000.
  • Gillespie D, et al. The use of modern modelling methods for the statistical analysis of microbiological data in clinical trials of antimicrobial stewardship interventions. School of Medicine / Trials Methodology Research Partnership PhD studentship.
  • Phillips R, et al. COVID-19 public experiences in Wales: A longitudinal mixed-methods study of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour in response to the coronavirus pandemic (COPE Cymru). Ser Cymru Call for COVID-19 Research. £130,000.
  • Waterman H, et al. Examining assumptions, accuracy and acceptance of an electronic monitoring device for adherence to eye drops: the EASY label study. International Glaucoma Association. £30,000.


  • Hood K, et al. Health and Care Research Wales. Centre for Trials Research Infrastructure renewal. £2,500,000.
  • Stenfert-Kroese B, et al. A randomised feasibility study of a school-based emotional literacy programme (Zippy's Friends) for children with intellectual disabilities (ZIP-SEND). NIHR PHR. £550,000.
  • Scior K, et al. The STanding up fOR Myself (STORM) psychosocial group intervention for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities: Feasibility study. NIHR PHR. £600,000.
  • Marsal S, et al. DocTIS - Decision on optimal combinatorial therapies in IMIDs using systems approaches. H2020. €7,000,000.
  • Solomon T, et al. Enceph-IG - Intravenous Immunoglobulin in Autoimmune Encephalitis in Adults: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. NIHR/MRC EME. £2,400,000.
  • Denne L, et al. Teaching early reading skills to adults with intellectual disabilities (READ-IT) using a support worker/family carer mediated on-line reading programme – a feasibility study. NIHR RfPB. £250,000.
  • Pickles T, et al. Patient reported outcome measures for Rheumatoid Arthritis symptom severity. Development of a computer adaptive test from an item bank using Rasch measurement theory (SOCRATES). NIHR Doctoral Fellowship. £350,000.
  • Gillespie D and Hood K, et al. Understanding the relationship between pre-exposure prophylaxis, sexually transmitted infections, and antimicrobial resistance in Wales. KESS2 East. £50,000.
  • Kotecha S, et al. AZithromycin ThErapy for Chronic lung disease (AZTEC): A randomised, placebo controlled trial of azithromycin for the prevention of chronic lung disease of prematurity in preterm infants. NIHR HTA. £2,100,000.


  • Gillespie D, et al. Development of an intervention to optimise use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV-acquisition in at-risk individuals living in Wales (DO-PrEP). Health and Care Research Wales Health Research Fellowship. £390,000.
  • Walsh T, et al. Burden of Antibiotic Resistance in Neonates from Developing Societies - Epidemiological and Genomic Analyses of BARNARDS Network. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. £600,000.


  • Jahoda A, et al. Behavioural activation (BeatIt) for depression in adults with severe intellectual disabilities. A feasibility randomised controlled study of BeatIt versus treatment as usual. The Baily Thomas Charitable Fund. £100,000.
  • Hastings R, et al. Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS) for families of young children with intellectual disability: Feasibility study. NIHR PHR. £500,000.
  • Courtenay M et al. An intervention for primary care prescribers to support the choice and use of antibiotics. ESRC IAA. £20,000.
  • Rosser A, et al. Trial designs for delivery of novel therapies for neurodegeneration (TRIDENT). £220,000.
  • Waterman H, et al. Feasibility and Acceptability of a new Clinical Pathway for the Identification of Non-Responders to Glaucoma Eye Drops (the TRIAGE study). Health and Care Research Wales RfPPB. £225,000.


  • Butler CC, et al. Probiotics to reduce infections in care home residents (PRINCESS). NIHR/MRC EME. £1,900,000.
  • McNamara R, et al. A pragmatic randomised controlled trial of sensory integration therapy versus usual care for sensory processing difficulties in autism spectrum disorder in children, and its impact on behavioural difficulties, adaptive skills and socialisation (SenITA). NIHR HTA. £1,500,000.


  • Butler CC and Francis NA, et al. General Practitioner (GP) use of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Point of Care Test (POCT) to help target antibiotic prescribing to patients with Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (AECOPD) who are most likely to benefit (PACE). NIHR HTA. £1,400,000.


  • Kerr M, et al. Community-led anti-psychotic drug reduction for adults with learning disabilities: a randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial (ANDREA-LD). £1,500,000.