Pragmatics of running clinical trials: Design, management and the processes of change

The Workshop at a Glance

The SYNERGY annual workshop is organised to provide an opportunity for discussion between health psychologists conducting research in core fields within health psychology. The focus is on advancing the standard of work within the field by pooling expertise, sharing critical evaluations, and stimulating networking and collaborative research between researchers from all over Europe in an informal and supportive atmosphere. It is also an opportunity for researchers to present their research for discussion in depth with other experts working in the same field in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Recently, there has been a strong call for health psychologists to engage in more translational research. Two recent editorials in Psychology and Health by leading health psychologists focused on this theme. Taylor (2008) proposed that intervention research should ask two interrelated questions “how can we make a difference in prevention or patient care, and if we do, what mechanisms might underlie these effects?’ (p 133). Leventhal et al. (2007) argued that we not only need to translate concepts from theory into practice to create interventions but we also need to make sure our work meets the standards of current evidence-based practice. Intervention trials are often the most challenging forms of research but if set up correctly they can also be the most rewarding. This year’s SYNERGY workshop will provide an opportunity to bring together experienced and more novice researchers to critically examine some of the more pragmatic aspects of clinical trials and address the following key topics:

  • Designing trials to maximise outputs throughout the trial focusing on process and outcome (e.g. choosing control conditions, addressing ethical issues, assessing therapist effects and fidelity of treatment)
  • Setting up intervention trials and the day-to-day running of clinical trials
  • Testing mediator and moderator designs both in relation to improving theory and enhancing intervention effectiveness

The workshop will last three days and the scheduled timetable is: Sunday 20th September 1400-1730, Monday 21st September 0930-1730 and Tuesday 22nd 0930-1730.

The workshop will be facilitated by: Prof Rona Moss-Morris, University of Southampton, UK; Prof Trudie Chalder, Institute of Psychiatry and King's College London, UK; Dr Alison Wearden, University of Manchester, UK; Prof Gijs Bleijenberg, University Nijmegen, Netherlands.
The facilitators will guide the work, support and moderate the discussion.

The workshop fee is EUR 255 (this includes the workshop materials, lunch for Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd Sept, coffee breaks and the workshop dinner). Please note that accommodation is not included. Rooms have been reserved at the Hotel Granduca (approx. 85EUR pn; see Also a few rooms are available at the Campus (approx. 35 EUR pn) for students and/or low economy citizens. Further details about accommodation will be sent separately to all delegates once their registration is received.

Note that the EHPS is offering 2 grants to those who want to attend the SYNERGY workshop but do not have sufficient financial resources. Each grant will be up to EUR 1100. For further information about the grants, please check the EHPS webite ( and under EHPS Grants and Stipends 2009.

The workshop will be held at the National Research Area, San Cataldo, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa (see

The workshop will be held in English language.

Participants need to become a member of the EHPS and therefore will also receive the benefits of EHPS membership (