Mike Clarke is Chair of Research Methodology and Director of the Northern Ireland Methodology Hub based at Queen’s University Belfast and Director of the Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit. After achieving a first class BA in Chemistry at the University of Oxford in 1984, Mike did a DPhil on the history of suicide, with special emphasis on the use of poisons. He started work in health research in 1989 at the Clinical Trial Service Unit in Oxford, where he became responsible for collaborative overviews of cancer treatments. In these systematic reviews, individual participant data are collected and analysed for all patients entered into relevant trials. The largest of the projects concerns the treatment of women with breast cancer and has produced reliable and robust evidence which influences the care of women with breast cancer worldwide. In 1999, Mike became Associate Director (Research) at the UK Cochrane Centre and was its Director from 2002 to 2011, before moving to Queen’s University Belfast.
Mike has considerable experience in the conduct of large multicentre randomized trials and systematic reviews. He has been actively involved with trials in pre-eclampsia, subarachnoid haemorrhage, breast cancer, paediatric intensive care and poisoning – each of which are among the largest ever randomized trials in these conditions. He has also provided detailed advice for hundreds of other trials, processed and interpreted the individual participant data (IPD) from more than a thousand trials included in systematic reviews, and assessed reports for tens of thousands more as part of initiatives to improve access to research information.
Mike has been involved with the MSc in Evidence Based Health Care since it began, and developed the Randomized Trials and Systematic Reviews elective modules, which he continues to teach. He helped establish the SWAT and SWAR (Study Within A Trial/Review) programme to encourage the embedding of methodology research into prospective studies and reviews. He is also actively involved in promoting research-based knowledge in disasters and humanitarian emergencies, through Evidence Aid. Mike received the title Professor of Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Oxford in 2004 and is Visiting Professor at the Evidence Based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology Centre of the West China School of Medicine in Chengdu, Extraordinary Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and Honorary Professor in Biostatistics at the University of Liverpool. He is an author on more than 400 papers and book chapters.