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Newcastle P3 Clinical Research Unit Project

Newcastle P3 Clinical Research Unit – Trialled and Tested

Local awareness campaign using Newcastle’s Metro underground billboards by Alan Orczyk.


Students worked with representatives and clinicians from Newcastle P3 Clinical Research Unit (an NHS Clinical Trial Centre), designing and prototyping service concept that promotes, communicates and encourages continued participation in clinical trials.


A clinical trial compares the effects of one treatment with another. It may involve patients, healthy people, or both. Clinical trials help doctors understand how to treat a particular illness.

Pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs in order to provide potential new treatments, however, these drugs need rigorously testing first. There are four phases to drugs trials that with each successive phase get introduced to more patients and become more refined. The trials that take place at the NHS Clinical Trial Centre in Newcastle are in phase three, which is when they are quite close to market, or they are trying out existing treatments in different ways.

Analysis of primary interviews by James Seabright.


The Newcastle P3 Clinical Research Unit, a newly established service within Newcastle Hospitals Trust (NUTH), is responsible for organising and carrying out drug trials on behalf of pharmaceutical companies for chronic illnesses like arthritis or asthma. It is one of five national centres across the country undertaking this important work. The Trial Centres get paid by the pharmaceutical companies for this work and profits are ploughed back into the local services they provide. However, the problem is that for non-life-threatening illnesses, drug trials are often harder to recruit for and there is a much higher dropout rate.

The challenge is to explore ways to better promote and communicate the process and role of these important clinical trials. This will not only increase retention rates but also instil a community pride and purpose in participating and contributing to medical advances.

Mapping out the user journey for a clinical trial by Lauren Critchley.


Design and prototype a service concept that promotes, communicates and encourages continued participation in clinical trials. A proposed solution should be cost effective, limiting expensive advertising and promotional campaigns as far as possible in order to maximise the financial return to NHS local services. Focus on fulfilling the needs and personal motivations of trial participants, but don’t forget that staff at the Trial Centre and pharmaceutical companies have needs too.

Website wireframes to help potential trial participants find out more and sign up by Alan Orczyk.


Students had weekly meetings with a PR specialist University researcher and clinicians from the Newcastle P3 Clinical Research Unit to understand the challenge and receive expert feedback on their design development. Students worked cooperatively to create a shared body of research before developing their own individual design solutions.

Creating a sense of community and dialogue through branding by James Seabright.


Students were asked to create presentations explaining their conceptual solution which will include key user needs and research insights, physical and digital prototypes that demonstrate how a user interacts with their service promotion and an infomercial video to show how it works across one or a number of use cases.

Service concept infomercial by James Seabright.

Course info

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

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