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21 June 2021, 4- 6 pm, virtual meeting via MS TEAMS

The QUEST Center in cooperation with the Arbeitskreis Medizinischer Ethik-Kommissionen is hosting this workshop in the framework of its BMBF-funded project PRECOPE.

During the pandemic, most countries introduced preventive public health measures such as closing schools, using self-tests, nightly exit locks etc. However, after more than one year pandemic and large amounts of research resources spent, many unknowns about non-pharmacological interventions remain. While observational studies could explore correlations and modelling studies develop scenarios, methodologically, cluster randomized trials would be the appropriate way to generate high quality evidence for these non-individual measures. To our knowledge, worldwide only a few cluster RCTs for COVID-19 public health measures were conducted.

In this expert round we will discuss the meaning and potential challenges for the conduct of cluster RCTs as well as other potential pragmatic trial designs required in a pandemic situation with international high-ranked experts from the field:

  • PD Dr. Lars G. Hemkens MPH (Department of Clinical Research at the University of Basel, Switzerland, Senior Scientist) who has a broad experience in meta-research, pragmatic trial conduct and design, and routinely collected data and is the project lead of COVID-Evidence, will provide insights from the meta-research perspective.
  • Brigitte Strahwald, MSc Mmel (Pettenkofer School of Public Health (PSPH), Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology (IBE), Ludwig-Maximilians-University Germany) who is involved in several important Covid-19-review projects and coordinated the German public health measure (S3-) guideline for school interventions, will present the public health/guideline perspective.
  • Prof. Atle Fretheim (Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Research Director & Head of Centre for Informed Health Choices; Oslo Metropolitan University, Adjunct professor) who has broad experience in conducting Cluster-RCTs and e.g. worked on communicating evidence-based information about the effects of healthcare interventions, will give insights from the investigators perspective.
  • Prof. Charles Weijer (Department of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Department of Philosophy, Western University, Canada) is a leading expert on the ethics of randomized controlled trials and is lead author on the first international ethics guideline for cluster randomized trials, and he will present the ethics perspective.


Welcome & short intro

  • PRECOPE/AKEK (Prof Dr. Dr. Daniel Strech/N.N.)


  • The meta-research perspective - PD Dr. Lars G. Hemkens MPH
  • The public health/guideline perspective - Brigitte Strahwald, MSc Mmel
  • The cluster RCT investigator perspective - Prof. Atle Fretheim
  • The ethics perspective - Prof. Charles Weijer


Registration is closed.