HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN)

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The conduct of randomised trials needs to become more efficient and effective if they are to lead to successful and effective patient care. To do this, the right trials need to be chosen, implemented and reported in the best way.

The HRB-TMRN is a collaborative initiative between a number of Irish and international higher education institutes and methodology centres. Its mission is to strengthen the methodology and reporting of trials in health and social care in Ireland so that they become more relevant, accessible and influential for patients and other service users, practitioners, policy makers and the public.

The HRB-TMRN is actively involved in primary trial methodology research projects, and also directly funds network members to carry out studies within a trial (SWATs), which are specifically related to improving the conduct, analysis, reporting and dissemination of randomised trials. The network also expands its research portfolio by developing new collaborations to strengthen grant applications, and is named in several grants as a research support infrastructure, where primary trial methodology has been embedded.

The network operates under four main pillars of activity, offering a suite of services under each pillar:


  • Research and Innovation: The HRB-TMRN is involved in conducting trial methodology research across a number of randomised trials into issues around design, conduct, analysis and dissemination of trials, including Ireland’s first trial methodology specific cohort of PhD students. The network also offers annual funding for primary methodology research in the form of studies within a trial (SWATs) and undergraduate summer scholarships.
  • Training and Education: The HRB-TMRN offers a diverse range of educational events including; monthly webinars, an annual trial methodology symposium, study days, and online resources including free access to a large number of recorded talks. The network also offers a rolling call for a training grant, which assists groups in organising specific trial methodology training locally.
  • Support Services: The HRB-TMRN helps researchers by providing advice on challenging aspects of trial methodology and reporting of trials and provides opportunities to establish new collaborations for methodology research. The HRB-TMRN provides this advice and support through the Trial Methodology and Reporting Advisory Service (TMRAS). The TMRAS provides trial methodology advice to trialists who encounter methodological problems outside of the standard design of randomised trials.
  • Public Engagement: The HRB-TMRN is committed to creating a greater awareness with the general public of the importance of randomised trials and their impact for healthcare. The Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition is an annual national competition for Irish primary schools to challenge students to create their very own simulated randomised trial. The HRB-TMRN also hosts an online blog for anyone involved in trial methodology to share their work and experiences with the general public.


The following are a list of practical resources and support offered by the HRB-TMRN:

  • The provision of training and education at venues nationally from international experts in trial methodology.
  • Involvement in grant proposals (including feasibility and definitive intervention applications) as Co-applicant, Collaborator and / or as Infrastructure Support, embedding primary methodology research within proposals, which is cost effective and adds value to your proposal.
  • Access to an experienced qualitative methods research team (QUESTS) for embedding qualitative research in your trials.
  • Significant expertise in the development of core outcome datasets and studies within a trial (SWATs).
  • Support and advice on the challenging aspects of trial methodology with expertise across several areas including trial design and analysis, reporting and dissemination of findings and health economic evaluation.

Visit the HRB-TMRN website to view the range of current research projects.