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 
Prof. 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.

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, “Trial managers: an undervalued resource in the clinical trials team?”

The purpose of the study is to ascertain the current training level of clinical trial managers, their approaches to clinical trial management and in their view, the important factors that successfully deliver a clinical trial.

Aoife is from Blackrock, Cork and is eagerly looking forward to working on trials methodological research. For more information, contact Dr Frances Shiely at

Ellen Murphy, HRB CRF-C Summer Research Student

Ellen Murphy, graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Public Health from University College Cork in 2020. Ellen is currently working as a Research Assistant for the HRB Clinical Trial Research Facility Cork on two SWAT projects; “Effects of a multi-trial programmable animation platform on the efficiency and success of pre-screening and subsequent recruitment to a randomised trial” and “Does patients’ guided self-reflection on their illness increase engagement with and recruitment to clinical trials: a mixed-methods study with in trial (SWAT)”. As well as this Ellen is also working on other research pieces on communication with patients in clinical trials.

Danielle Murphy, HRB Summer Student Scholarship 2020

Danielle Murphy is an enthusiastic first year student studying Medical and Health Science in University College Cork . Danielle has been awarded a HRB TMRN Summer Student Scholarship titled ‘Involving the research nurse in the design phase of clinical trials: should it be compulsory ?’ The purpose of this study is to ascertain if research nurses can predict the outcome of the trial, i.e, terminated, withdrawn or successful and the reason for the withdrawal, termination or success.

Danielle is from Innishannon, Co. Cork. Conducting group projects is a fundamental element of her University course, which she thoroughly enjoys. Danielle hopes that this experience will prove invaluable as she embarks on this research work.


Learning about Clinical Trials

A useful resource on the MRC-NIHR TMRP webpage, aims to raise awareness and understanding of trials methodology research including how it can benefit patients.

Access the “What is Trials Methodology Research?” webpage here



Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In light of the Covid-19 situation, in advance of attending for a scheduled patient visit, please confirm the visit with your research nurse.