Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit

Staff Profile

Professor Elaine McColl

Professor of Health Service Research


I am a social scientist by background (my first degree was in geography and economics, followed by an MSc in applied statistics), but I have worked in applied health services research for over 25 years, first in my native Ireland and since 1987 in Newcastle upon Tyne. My research interests include public health, chronic disease management, the design and conduct of randomised controlled trials and feasibility studies ,the design and conduct of applied health and social surveys,  and the assessment of patient reported outcomes. My PhD was awarded on the basis of my publications in this latter field.

In October 2003, I became the first Director of the Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit, which achieved full UK CRC CTU registraton status in 2007 and was successfully re-registered in 2012.  The NCTU supports investigators in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials of pharmaceutical, surgica, rehabilitation and complex interventions. I stood down from the role of NCTU Director in June 2016.  In autumn 2016, I took on the role of postgraduate research student coordinator for the Institute of Health and Society, and I am now PGR SC for the Population Health Sciences Institute.

I led a consortium of researchers from Newcastle and Durham universities in a successful application to host the NIHR Research Design Service North East, whch opened for business in October 2008, wth a remit of providing methodological and practical advice to researchers seeking national peer-reviewed funding for applied health and social care research studies.  I held the post of Director of the RDS from its inauguration to May 2012. 

I was previously a sub-panel member (core methodologist) for NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and Programme Development Grants, and a monograph editor for NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research  

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Professor of Health Services Research 
  • PGR student coordinator for NU-PHSI.

Areas of expertise

  • Health services research
  • Public health
  • Clinical trials


  • BA Hons (Geography and Economics, National University of Ireland)
  • MSc (Applied Statistics, Dublin University)
  • PhD (Health Services Research (by publication), Newcastle University)
  • Certificate in Health Economics (University of Aberdeen)
  • Professional Certificate in Management (Open University)

 Google Scholar: Click here.


Research Interests

  • Clinical trial design and conduct
  • Assessment of patient reported outcomes
  • Survey methods in health research
  • Chronic disease management
  • Public health improvement
  • Primary care research


Module leader (MCR8001 - Research Governance and Ethics): Masters in Clinical Research

Module leader (MCR8008 - Clinical Trials): Masters in Clinical Research

Module lead (HSC8054 - Health Services Evaluation):MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research  

Module contributor: MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research  

Chair of Board of Examiners: MClinRes, MClinHealthSciences