Dr Rebecca Walwyn


Associate Professor of Clinical Trials Methodology and NIHR Advanced Fellow (2022-2028), I am the Director of the cross-cutting Methodological Research, Education and Innovation (M-REI) Division in LICTR. I joined the Complex Interventions Division in the Clinical Trials Research Unit at Leeds in January 2011, becoming M-REI Division Director in April 2022. I was previously a statistician at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London from 2001 to 2010, initially in the Department of Biostatistics and Computing and then from 2003 in the Mental Health and Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit. During this time I worked for the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2001-2002), completed a PhD at University of Manchester (MRC Fellowship, 2006-2010) and was seconded to the MRC CTU (2009-2010).


2024 – 2029: Opioid-SMART (Adapting and evaluating a complex adaptable intervention to reducing opioid prescribing and primary care). Collaborator with Sarah Alderson (NIHR Advanced Fellowship)

2023 – 2028: BTRU (Blood Transfusion Research Unit). Collaborator with PI Simon Stanworth (NIHR Infrastructure Award) 

2022 – 2028: Developing statistical methods for empirically optimising complex interventions: Applying ‘Design of Experiments’ methods in health and social care. Principal Investigator (NIHR Advanced Fellowship)

2022 – 2023: Feasibility study: A mathematical language for complex healthcare interventions. Co-Investigator with PI Steven Gilmour (EPSRC Small Grant) 

2021 – 2027: Doctoral Training Partnership on Trials Methodology Research. Institutional Lead with PI Paula Williamson (MRC DTP)

2020 – 2025: ROSETA (Refining and optimising a behavioural intervention to support endocrine therapy adherence). Collaborator with PI Sam Smith (NIHR Advanced Fellowship)

2020 – 2022: Missing data imputation methods applied to continuous data traces recorded by medical devices. Supervisor for PI Colin Everett (NIHR Pre-Doctoral Fellowship)

2019 – 2020: RISA-IPD (Reducing self-harm in adolescents: Individual patient data meta-analysis). Co-Investigator with PI David Cottrell (NIHR HTA).

2018 – 2023: Trial design and analysis to incorporate the complexities of surgery. Supervisor for PI Neil Corrigan (NIHR Doctoral Fellowship)

2018 – 2020: OPIS-CRT (Open-cohort designs for cluster-randomised trials in institutional settings: A methodology bolt-on to DCM-EPIC). Principal Investigator (MRC Methodology Research Programme). 

2017 – 2020: ENACT (Improving the outputs of national clinical audits to support organisations to improve the quality of care and clinical outcomes). Co-Investigator with PI Robbie Foy (NIHR HS&DR).

2016 – 2019: Novel clinical trial designs for establishing potential efficacy of complex interventions. Sponsor for PI Duncan Wilson (MRC Skills Development Fellowship)

2015 – 2017: TIGA-CUB (Feasibility study for a trial on improving inter-generational attachment for children undergoing behavioural problems). Co-Investigator with PI Elizabeth Edginton (NIHR RfPB). 

2013 – 2017: DCM-EPIC (Evaluating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) to enable person-centred care for people with dementia and carers: A cluster randomised controlled trial in care homes). Co-Investigator with PI Claire Surr (NIHR HTA).

2013 – 2018: AFFINITIE (The development and evaluation of enhanced audit and feedback interventions to increase the uptake of evidence-based transfusion practice). Supervising statistician with PI Simon Stanworth (NIHR PGfAR).

2013 – 2015: Early-phase complex intervention trials. Methodologist for Duncan Wilson (NIHR Research Methods Fellowship).

2012 – 2016: OK-DIABETES (Managing with learning disability and diabetes). Supervising statistician with PI Allan House (NIHR HTA). 

2011 – 2013: IMPROVE-PC (A randomised feasibility trial of systematic lifestyle referral assessment compared to standard assessment in an acute cardiology service). Trial statistician with PI Allan House (CLAHRC).

2006 – 2010: Therapist effects in the design, analysis and reporting of psychotherapy randomised clinical trials. Principal Investigator (MRC Special Training Fellowship in HSR).

2005 – 2011: HTA-SADD (HTA study of antidepressants for depression in dementia). Co-Investigator with PI Sube Banerjee (NIHR HTA). 

2003 – 2005: FEVER (Flu: effectiveness of vaccine in elderly residents). Co-Investigator with PI Fiona Gaughran (Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Charitable Foundation).

2003 – 2010: PACE (Pacing, graded activity, and cognitive behaviour therapy; a randomised evaluation). Trial/supervising statistician with PI Peter White (MRC). 

2003 – 2009: HSEN (A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of methylphenidate among children with moderate and severe learning disabilities). Trial/supervising statistician with PI Emily Simonoff (PPP Foundation).

Professional Activities:

Member of NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Fellowship panel

Lead for TMRP Design of Experiments Target Group 

Champion for International Biometrics Society

Member of HQIP Methodology Advisory Group


  • NIHR Advanced Fellow
  • Director of Methodological Research, Education and Innovation (M-REI) Division

Research interests

From a methodological perspective, I am interested in maximising the efficiency of, and information obtained from, clinical trials of complex interventions, such as, but not restricted to, psychotherapy. Within this broad area I’m interested in treatment-related clustering (e.g. ‘therapist effects’) in trials, meta-analyses and observational data. More recently, my interests have extended to novel experimental designs (e.g. split-block designs, split-plot designs, multi-tiered designs, conditional randomisations, open-cohort cluster-randomised trial designs) and combinations of those designs, building on Design of Experiments (DoE). I am also interested in the role of time in trials of complex interventions. From a trials perspective, I’m interested in building a portfolio of trials that evaluate psychological interventions and audit and feedback, particularly in a mental health setting. However, she has developed an interest in all types of complex intervention, where my interest is in supporting the implementation of innovative trial designs across the Clinical Trials Research Unit.

Supervised PhD Students:

2016 - 2018: Pritaporn Kingkaew (co-supervisor: Glidewell, Wyatt): Optimising the development of effective mobile health behaviour change interventions

2016 - 2021: Richard Wilkins (co-supervisor: Redmond, Chapman, Horn, Siddle): Haemarthrosis of the ankle in haemophilia A and B: Prevalence, impact and intervention

2018 - 2023: Neil Corrigan (lead-supervisor with: Brown, Emsley): Trial design and analysis to incorporate the complexities of surgery

2018 - 2021: Laura Marsden (lead-supervisor with: Copas, Farrin): Open-cohort designs for cluster-randomised trials in institutional settings

2021 - 2025: Zainab Haider (co-supervisor: Smith, Beeken): Developing and quantitatively optimising a Just-In-Time-Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) to improve adherence to medication in women with breast cancer


  • BSc Psychology (University of Kent at Canterbury, 1996-1999)
  • MSc Social Statistics (University of Southampton, 1999-2001)
  • PhD Biostatistics (University of Manchester, 2006-2010)

Student education

I am Co-Lead on the Introduction to the Multiphase Optimisation Strategy (MOST) CPD course.  





Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research
  • Complex interventions
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1516-implementation-of-optimisation-trials-of-complex-health-and-social-care-interventions">Implementation of optimisation trials of complex health and social care interventions</a></li>