Trials Research and Methodologies Unit- TRAMS

Contact: Dr. Frances Shiely

Senior Lecturer, Director MSc Clinical Trials, HRB TMRN PI UCC

TRAMS places trial methodological research at the heart of clinical trials.  Our aim is to build capacity in trial methodology for the improvement of clinical trial efficiency, with the ultimate goal of delivering better treatments and improving quality of life and health outcomes in patients. TRAMS maps directly to the CRF-C vision and the strategic goals of the College of Medicine and Health, UCC and the HRB.


Dr Frances Shiely is the Director of TRAMS. If you wish to get involved in methodological research within your own discipline, contact Frances at  Methodological research is feasible within all study types, not just clinical trials, e.g., cohort studies, case-control studies, and cross-sectional studies. Funders welcome methodological research embedded in larger research proposals.  The purpose of methodological research is to improve our processes and hence make our research more efficient, leading to less research waste and better patient outcomes.


Prof. Joe Eustace is the Director of the HRB Clinical Research FacilityProf. Joe Eustace is the Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at UCC (CRF-C), Chairman of the HRB CRCI Senior Management Team and Professor of Patient Focused Research at UCC. The CRF-C facility is co-funded by the University and by the Health Research Board and supports the design, conduct and analysis of Patient Focused Research throughout UCC and its affiliated Medical Centres. He is also a Consultant Renal Physician at Cork University Hospital.


Dr. David O’Riordan, Pharmacovigilance

Senior Pharmacovigilance Officer Dr. David O’Riordan holds a Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm), Masters in Public Health (MPH), Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PG Cert) and has recently completed his PhD.

He has extensive experience as a community pharmacist spanning over 14 years. He has previously worked as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy in University College Cork (UCC). While there, he contributed to and assisted in the delivery of research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He also supervised on a number of research projects. He was a clinical trials pharmacist involved in the Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Subclinical Hypo-Thyroidism Trial (TRUST). This was a randomised placebo controlled clinical trial comparing levothyroxine to placebo in community dwelling older adults (≥65 years) with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH). He is a tutor on the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Academy. This educational initiative was developed by the IPU to support pharmacist engagement with Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Dr. O’Riordan is currently working on a mixed methods study exploring the knowledge, attitudes and practices towards Pharmacovigilance (PV) and adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting in clinical trials.

Niamh O’Shea, HRB TMRN PhD 

Holding an MSc in Healthcare Ethics and Law, Niamh O’Shea began working on her PhD scholarship with UCC and the Health Research Board – Trial Methodology Network (HRB-TMRN) in early 2019. Prior to that Niamh worked as a Research Support Officer at the HRB Clinical Research Facility Cork, where she was the Project Manager of a pilot study

From 2010 to 2017 Niamh was based at the INFANT Centre, University College Cork, where she was the Clinical Trial Coordinator for a double blind, international, multicentre EU FP7 funded project in conjunction with being the Project Manager of various Neonatal Clinical Trials, Medical Device Trials and Observational Studies.

Niamh was previously employed as the Project Manager for an independent, single-centre CRO which performed Phase I bioequivalence and bioavailability clinical trials, dental and cosmetic studies. Niamh has been working within the research industry for 12 years.

Aoife O’Keeffe, HRB TMRN Summer Student Scholarship

BSc Public Health Sciences Student Aoife O’Keeffe has been awarded a HRB TMRN Summer Student Scholarship.  The project is titled, “Patients’ perspectives on what trialists should communicate to them when being invited to participate in a randomised trial” and can be viewed on the HRB-TMRN website

Aoife will conduct semi-structured interviews with 30-35 patients in 8-10 randomised trials currently running in Cork University Hospital under the supervision of PI, Dr Frances Shiely.  Aoife is from Blackrock, Cork and is eagerly looking forward to working on trials methodological research.If you would like to learn more about embedding trial methodological research in your research area, contact Dr Frances Shiely at

Ellen Murphy, HRB CRF-C Summer Research Student

Ellen Murphy, a 3rd year Public Health student in University College Cork, has carried out two college research projects over the past three years. She has a very strong interest in health promotion and carried out a 12-week placement in the Department of Health Promotion and Improvement in Cork. Ellen, from Cahersiveen Co.Kerry, is a very active and sporty person and is actively involved in the UCC Ultimate Frisbee club and Rebel Ultimate as well as her local sailing club in Kerry.