Students undertaking the MRes in Clinical Research programme benefit from a wide range of lectures presented by experts in their field, along with the chance to implement research projects in clinical and laboratory settings, with support from both academic and clinical supervisors.

The programme is comprised of a selection of taught modules, assessed by 4 exams and 1 piece of coursework, and a research module assessed by a written research project and a Vice Voce.

Expand the relevant section below to find out more:

Taught and research elements

Taught Modules

The teaching structure will consist of 4 taught modules, each covered in 5-day blocks of lectures. The remaining time will be allocated to projects and self-study. 

3 of the modules are compulsory for all MRes pathways. 1 module differs for each MRes pathway and will provide specialist knowledge in the chosen discipline. Topics covered in lectures will be reflected in the end of module exams.

Lectures will cover the principles of drug and biomarker discovery, clinical trial design and management, the role of biomarkers and surrogate endpoints, emerging technologies in medical research, clinical investigation paradigms, research governance and medical statistics. Lectures and practical sessions will be complemented by tutorials, journal clubs, student presentations and question and answer sessions.

In addition to the scheduled modules, students will be expected to attend regular group meetings/journal clubs that focus on individual project progress and some practical and theoretical elements of clinical research.

In addition to the marked exams, students will be required to submit some additional informative work including presentations, posters, regular project progress reports and invited to attend key conferences and talks.

Course staff have also previously organised visiting speakers to provide career talks to students and also visits from past students. Students are also invited to attend the annual Young Scientist Day, to learn about the work of current PhD students within the department.

Students are asked to provide feedback on the lectures, rating areas such as style/presentation, use of materials, relevance of session etc. This is currently carried out through participation in PG SOLE.

Core Module 1 -
Research Conduct and Governance
9th - 13th October 2017

·         Introduction to Clinical Research

·         Medical Governance

·         Critical Appraisal

·         Medical Statistics

Exams 1&2

To examine mod 1 & 2 (Excluding critical appraisal)

Core Module 2 –

Clinical Research Measures

13th – 17th November 2017

·         The tools of experimental medicine and their use in drug development

Pathway specific Module

15th – 19th January  2018

·         Specialist Module

Exams 3&4

To examine Module 4 and Specialist

Core Module 4 –

Clinical Research Scenarios

5th - 9th March 2018

·         Research in challenging situations

Critical appraisal assignment

On-going monthly journal clubs and project monitoring throughout the year. 

Appraise a given paper as a structured essay. Assignment given out then to be submitted 1 week later.

Set and hand in late June after all other exams (22nd – 29th June

 

We offer two options to part time students:

1.    Recommended option: Attend all taught courses and sit all exams in the first year. Start project work in year 1, but the majority of work will be in year 2 after taught modules are complete. The critical appraisal assignment can be completed in either year 1 or 2.

2.    Alternative option: Attend module 1 and 2 and sit corresponding exams in the year 1, then module 4 and specialist module and sit corresponding exams in year 2. Start the project work in year 1 and progress throughout the 2 years. The critical appraisal assignment can be completed in either year 1 or 2.

Core Module 1: Research Conduct and Governance

Description of content:The research conduct and governance module will provide students with an understanding of the challenges, considerations and regulatory framework around research in humans. The module begins with an overview of quantitative and qualitative research. It identifies and defines key research agencies and roles. It introduces key terms and tools for clinical research. It provides working examples of active research projects. Two days are devoted to research statistics, including clinical trial design.

 At the end of this module students will become confident in the roles and practices of clinical research. They will understand the need for critical appraisal and risk assessment. They will be familiar with Good Clinical Practice and the key steps to setting up a clinical study. They will understand the need for statistical rigour and the principles of good clinical trial design

Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to- face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge.

 Learning outcomes:

  • Explain the different phases of clinical research.
  • Describe key terms and governance agencies.
  • Introduce a roadmap for translational research.
  • Explain Good Clinical Practice and associated regulatory requirements.
  • Critically appraise scientific literature.
  • Demonstrate the use of medical statistics in clinical research.

Core Module 2: Clinical Research Measures

Description of content:The clinical research measures module will provide students an introduction to the key tools of experimental medicine and provide examples of how they are used to improve drug development. At the end of this module students will be able to discuss how drugs are handled by the body and to calculate drug half-life. They will be able to highlight the key considerations in preclinical and clinical drug safety testing and discuss the value of animals in drug development. They will be able to define and discuss the uses of biomarkers and the science behind stratified medicine. Students will be able to talk through the design of a first-time-in-human study. Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to-face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge.

Learning outcomes: 

  • Describe principles that underpin pharmacokinetics.
  • Explain how drug targets are selected and validated.
  • Discuss key principles that govern preclinical and clinical drug safety testing.
  • Describe the value of biomarkers.
  • Discuss the use of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and imaging in stratified medicine.
  • Discuss key considerations that underpin first-time-in human studies.

 

Core Module 4: Clinical Research Scenarios

 Description of content: The Clinical Research Scenarios module will provide students with the insight and tools to design and conduct research in challenging situations. At the end of this module students will develop confidence in clinical trial design and an understanding of the opportunities for clinical research in a broad range of different settings and the care needed in those situations.Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to- face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge.

Learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of valid data collection.
  • Differentiate between good and bad clinical trial designs.
  • Discuss key considerations when conducting research in children and vulnerable adults.
  • Discuss challenges and solutions to conducting research in a trauma setting.

 Pathway Specific Module in Diabetes and Obesity

Description of Content: The Diabetes & Obesity module will provide students with a deep understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity. Importantly, this module will evaluate recent research advances in the management and treatment of diabetes and obesity, including appetite regulation. During this module the students will gain skills in identifying patients with diabetes and obesity and their associated risk factors.  They will also build on skills of critical appraisal, data interpretation and presentation in relation to diabetes and obesity research. Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to-face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge of diabetes and obesity.

 Leaning Outcomes: 

  • Explain and evaluate pathophysiology underlying Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
  • Explain and evaluate pathophysiology underlying obesity.
  • Explain and evaluate genetics underlying diabetes and obesity.
  • Describe and compare research strategies to treat diabetes & obesity.
  • Explain and evaluate cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin appetite regulation.
  • Compare novel nutritional research methods in diabetes and obesity.

Pathway Specific Module in Human Nutrition

Description of Content: The Human Nutrition module will provide students with a detailed discussion of the research methods required to study human nutrition in controlled and free living situations.  There will be an exploration of body composition and appetite regulation as a way of highlighting these techniques.  Students will be exposed to the latest imaging, metabolic enquiry and nutritional epidemiology techniques. During this module the students will gain skills in measuring diet, nutritional status and appetite.  They will also build on skills of critical appraisal, data interpretation and presentation in relation to nutrition research.Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to-face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge of human nutrition research.

Leaning Outcomes: 

  • Describe the basic components of dietary intake and how these relate to health.
  • Compare a variety of methods to measure dietary intake, nutritional status and appetite.
  • Compare epidemiological versus experimental methods when testing different nutritional problems.
  • Explain appetite regulation in humans.
  • Evaluate the application of theory-based tools developed in behavioural science to clinical research.
  • Explain how cutting edge technology may give insight into metabolic response to diet.

Pathway Specific Module in Translational Medicine

Description of Content: The Translational Medicine module will introduce students to the challenges of research in non-drug interventional research, including regenerative medicine and devices and illustrate the use of humans as an experimental animal. The module will also provide students with the opportunity to investigate why drugs fail in development in more detail.  Students will be able to discuss the special considerations around how a range of non-drug interventions are developed for human health. They will appreciate the possibilities for using humans as volunteers to understand disease mechanisms and drug action through challenge studies. They will be able to discuss common reasons why some drugs fail in development.Teaching will be delivered by a combination of interactive face-to- face lectures. Participants will be required to undertake a written exam to assess their knowledge.

Leaning Outcomes: 

  • Discuss challenges in undertaking clinical research in regenerative medicine.
  • Evaluate clinical research issues underlying studies that explore genetic modification.
  • Explain how devices are approved.
  • Explain and discuss the use of humans to explore disease mechanisms, proof-of-concept.
  • Explain why drugs fail in development.

Research Module

Research project (thesis)

This will consist of a 10,000 word thesis.

During the research period (one-year or two-year programme for full-time and part-time students, respectively), students are expected to design and undertake a research project. The purpose of the project is to gain practical experience in supervised clinical and/or laboratory-based research.

Students will be provided training in academic research and acquisition of practical skills, including the design of a research project, planning of experiments, dealing with practical problems, recording, presenting and analysing data. Research projects will comprise a literature survey on an assigned research area, preparation of a written report and presentation of proposed experimental work in seminars, conduct of experimental work and finally writing up of the thesis/manuscript.

Students are expected to make an original contribution to the chosen area of research within the time period allotted.

Part-time students undertaking projects in their place of work will be required to have a local clinical supervisor (providing assistance and direction to projects on a day-to-day basis) and an Imperial College academic supervisor who will oversee the successful and timely implementation of the project and will provide guidance on how to structure the final report.

For the entire duration of the programme (except during College closure dates and holidays and outside the 5-day blocks of lectures), students will be required to dedicate the equivalent of 5 days/week, or the equivalent of 2.5 days/week if part-time students to the implementation of their projects, as discussed and agreed with supervisors. Students who are in employment are expected to have arrangements agreed with their employer before committing to the programme.

As part of the research element, students are expected to attend regular monthly meetings during which they can be required to present updates on their projects and lead discussions on published papers. Students are also required to submit regular project reports.

For details on past student projects please visit the pathway pages – Translational Medicine, Human Nutrition and Diabetes and Obesity.


Viva voce

The final assessment of the MRes Clinical Research programme centres on the viva voce, which takes place during September.

Students are expected to present and discuss their project in front of a panel, students also produce a poster to illustrate to the panel the main objectives and outcomes of their project (poster is unassessed).

Please find example posters below.

MRes Clinical Research Human Nutrition Poster A (pdf)
MRes Clinical Research Human Nutrition Poster B (pdf)
MRes Clinical Research Diabetes & Obesity Poster A (pdf)
MRes Clinical Research Diabetes & Obesity Poster B (pdf)
MRes Clinical Research Translational Medicine Poster A (pdf)
MRes Clinical Research Translational Medicine Poster B (pdf)


 

Programme Structure

Module

ECTS

% Weighting

CORE MODULE 1 - Research Conduct and Governance

10

10%

CORE MODULE 2 - Clinical Research Measures

5

5%

(PATHWAY MODULE) 1 x elective module

5

5%

CORE MODULE 4 - Clinical Research Scenarios

5

5%

Critical Appraisal

5

5%

Research Project and Viva

60

70%

 

Taught Modules –

The examinations are designed to assess the taught part of the programme structured in 4 modules.  There will be 4 written exams, with the exception of the Governance part of module 1 which will be an online open book exam.

  • Exam 1 – written statistics exam and online governance open book exam (module 1 topics). December. 10%
  • Exam 2 – written exam to cover topics from core module 2. December, 5%.
  • Exam 3 – written exam to cover topics from the pathway module. April, 5%.
  • Exam 4 – written exam to cover topics from core module 4. April, 5%.
  • Critical appraisal coursework assignment - this will be completed in June, with students being required to appraise a given paper as structured essay (approximately 1 full week to complete). 5%.

 Research Module -

A project report thesis and viva voce examination will constitute the final assessment. Students will also be asked to produce a poster for their Viva examination (the poster is not assessed but it is important to produce a clear poster to illustrate your work). The final mark for the research side is 70%, which is further broken down as viva 30% and thesis 70%.