MRC Impact Prize for initiative helping to improve the relevance of clinical trials
An initiative founded by Professor Paula Williamson from the University of Liverpool and colleagues has won the inaugural MRC Open Science Impact Prize 2022 at a ceremony in Birmingham this week (14 March 2023).
This prize recognises outstanding contributions to advancing open science in medical research.
Professor Jamie Kirkham, first involved in the project when he was a junior researcher, has worked with the COMET team since its inception in 2010 where he continues to be involved despite moving to The University of Manchester in 2019. His initial work focussed on raising awareness of the problems of outcomes within clinical trials, and the solution that core outcome sets (COS) and other statistical methodologies might offer.
As part of the case for demonstrating impact, Jamie went on to develop a number of resources to help core outcome set developers, examples include guidance documents using international consensus methods for the development, protocol template and reporting of core outcome sets. Jamie continues to work in the research domain and has a number of researchers and PhD students based at The University of Manchester continuing to support COS development.
Professor Williamson, said: “Everyone involved with COMET (the COMETEERs), those developing COS, and those encouraging the use of COS, will be delighted with this recognition. The good will and international collaboration that exists within our community has enabled a network with notable achievements to date, and one that will keep going to improve health care decision-making for patient benefit.”
Professor Kirkham said: "It’s a great honour to be a member of the COMET team who are the first recipients of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Open Science Impact prize. The team have worked together over a sustained period of more than 10 years to help support the better choice and measurement of outcomes in clinical trials and other research”
The Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) Initiative is addressing differences in the way in which clinical trial outcomes are measured in studies of the same health condition, which can make it hard to compare and contrast results. COMET promotes the development and use of core outcome sets (COS), agreed by key groups, as the minimum to be measured, and reported, in all clinical trials for a specific health condition.
COMET maintains a public, searchable database of COS which allows researchers, healthcare professionals and patients to easily see which outcomes are recommended as measures. It has been accessed more than 68,000 times since early 2020 alone. COMET also provides resources and advice to groups developing COS to help them include patients and the public, now involved in nearly all studies compared to 17% ten years ago.
COMET was co-founded in 2010 by Professor Paula Williamson and colleagues from the universities of Oxford (the late Professor Doug Altman), Bristol (Professor Jane Blazeby) and Queen’s University Belfast (Professor Mike Clarke).
It’s a great honour to be a member of the COMET team who are the first recipients of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Open Science Impact prize. The team have worked together over a sustained period of more than 10 years to help support the better choice and measurement of outcomes in clinical trials and other research
The Medical Research Council (MRC) Impact Prize recognises individuals or teams who have made outstanding impacts in medical research in the following three areas:
- open science impact
- outstanding team impact
- early career impact
Each winner received £20,000 to widen the outreach or impact of their work or to advance their learning or development.