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Recruitment to clinical trials

NHS Research Scotland supports the delivery of a range of high-quality studies across a spectrum of disease and clinical needs. The Scottish Health Research Register and Biobank, SHARE, is an NHS Research Scotland initiative created to establish a register of people, aged 11 years and over, who:

  • have consented to be contacted for medical research
  • can also consent to their left-over blood (following routine tests), to be used for anonymised research

Participants agree to allow SHARE to use the coded data in their various NHS computer records, to check whether they might be suitable for health research studies.

As a resource designed with researchers, and research studies, in mind SHARE can help to:

  • achieve recruitment objectives by providing eligible and willing participants for studies
  • obtain anonymised research samples for studies
  • advertise studies involving SHARE via their channels

How the process works

  • Initially, researchers can either call SHARE directly or use a feasibility form, if you would like to scope out if SHARE has the potential participants/samples you are interested in
  • If you do require access to SHARE, submit a full study application for the Register and/or Biobank; this should include NHS ethics and R&D approvals
  • The SHARE Studies Access Committee review the application and respond with a decision (usually within 5–7 days)
  • Once you have received approval, the Health Informatics Centre carry out the search for suitable participants, based on the selection criteria on the application form
  • Contact details for potential participants are sent to SHARE on a web-based tracker
  • SHARE contacts the suitable participants about the study, and may also triage them
  • Eligible participants, who are willing to find out more about your study, will be passed to you via the password-protected tracker

The SHARE Researcher Guide provides more detail on the application process for studies involving participant contact and those requiring samples and/or data. 

A listing of current studies using SHARE can be found on the SHARE website.

For more information

Testimonial: AICOPD study

"We needed SHARE to distribute a questionnaire to people with COPD. The questionnaire sought patients’ views on an artificial intelligent APP for managing COPD. Given the demography of people with COPD, we did not expect a great response to a request involving smartphones and AI and hoped for between 30 and 50 responses. SHARE turned around the request in around two weeks and delivered 187 responses! I would advise everyone doing research with patients in Scotland to use SHARE and will certainly use it again."
Felix Agakov, Chief Executive, Pharmatics

Testimonial: Visual Fields study

"We used the SHARE database to assist with the recruitment of control participants for our Visual Fields Study. The SHARE team did a great job identifying the correct individuals required for the study. The tailored database, which was provided, had all the information we required in order for us to contact and track the individuals who agreed to take part and were pleased with the resulting numbers recruited to the study.

"Without the use of the SHARE database, we would not have been able to meet the target number of control subjects required. As a research coordinator with the University, I would definitely use SHARE to assist with other projects that I am involved in.

We definitely benefited from using the SHARE database service, it would have been extremely difficult to reach our goal in terms of the number of ‘control’ participants otherwise."
Jane Andrews, University of Edinburgh

Testimonial: SPIRO-A study

"I encourage all older people to register with SHARE. A key way to improve the health and life of older people is to increase opportunities for their participation in research

"As a clinical researcher, I use the SHARE register to recruit to clinical trials involving older adults. The SHARE register is a great asset which is improving month-by-month as more people join."
Marion McMurdo, University of Dundee

Testimonial: H. Pylori Study

"The SHARE register has been invaluable in helping us recruit healthy volunteers into our study. In previous years it has been extremely difficult to find asymptomatic volunteers who are willing to undergo an invasive procedure like endoscopy.  SHARE has made recruitment a much easier process and as a result, we are close to achieving our target number well within our time frame."
Dr. David Mitchell, University of Glasgow