Michelle Collinson

Michelle Collinson


I obtained a BSc. (Hons) in Mathematics & Statistics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2001 and a MSc in Statistics from the University of Kent at Canterbury in 2002.

Following university, I held roles within the Government Statistical Service and Banking before joining the Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) at the University of Leeds in 2008, as a Medical Statistician. I was promoted to Senior Medical Statistician in 2010 and Principal Statistician in December 2018. 

I am an experienced Statistician and triallist with over 14 years’ experience of successful design, implementation and delivery of charity and NIHR funded clinical trials research. Working within the Complex Interventions Division at CTRU I have collaborated with clinicians and researchers across a variety of research areas including cancer, older people, diet & obesity, mental health and skin.  My significant research experience extends to the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of large definitive phase III trials, in addition to cohort, observational, pilot and feasibility studies. 

I am the statistical lead for the clinical trials portfolios of research focussing on the evaluation of complex interventions in people living with and beyond cancer, palliative care and older people which include supportive, psychological, behavioural and lifestyle interventions. I am responsible for the strategic development of the portfolios including the development of funding applications, oversight of research within the portfolios and mentorship and development of trial statisticians.

Nationally, I am a member of the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (Yorkshire & North East) funding committee and a core member of the National Cancer Research Institute Living With and Beyond Cancer Methodology Workstream. I also serve on a number of national Trial Oversight Committees including Data Monitoring Committees and Trial Steering Committees, for national research funders.


  • Lead for Cancer, Palliative Care & Older People Complex Intervention research within CTRU
  • Design, implementation, delivery and reporting of clinical trials and related research
  • Collaborating with leading clinicians/researchers to develop successful grant applications

Research interests

I am interested in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials and other research involving complex interventions in people living with and beyond cancer, palliative care and older people.

My current grants include:

  • A pilot trial assessing the feasibility and acceptability of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention for improving medication taking behaviour in women with early stage breast cancer (ACTION – Yorkshire Cancer Research)
  • A cluster randomised pilot trial exploring a cancer pain assessment toolkit in oncology outpatient services (CAPTURE – Yorkshire Cancer Research)
  • Understanding population characteristics and healthcare resource use in general practice for people living with cancer (CATCH – Macmillan Cancer Support)
  • A cluster randomised phase III trial evaluating an obesity prevention programme in children (HENRY III – NIHR PHR)
  • A programme of research investigating supported exercise training for men with prostate cancer on androgen deprivation therapy (STAMINA – NIHR PGfAR)
  • A pilot trial assessing feasibility and acceptability of a weight loss intervention to support breast cancer survival (We Sure Can – Breast Cancer Now)
  • A NIHR Research Partnership in Palliative and End of Life Care.


  • MSc Statistics (University of Kent at Canterbury)
  • BSc Mathematics & Statistics (University of Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Professional memberships

  • Society for Clinical Trials
  • NCRI Living with and Beyond Cancer Methodology Workstream
  • Regional Advisory Panel Member for the Research for Patient Benefit

Student education

I am the co-lead for the “Clinical Trials Research” module which is part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research hosted by the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences.

I also led the development and delivery of five Yorkshire Cancer Research funded workshops focussed on introducing clinicians working in oncology to the design and conduct of complex intervention trials, pilot and feasibility studies, and grant application development.

Additionally, I am the co-lead for the CTRU CPD Masterclass in the Design and Conduct of Complex Intervention Evaluations. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research
  • Populations
  • Cancer
  • Palliative care