Launch party

I think I’ve already mentioned this work here and here: after much tribulation, mostly due to the fact that we had to co-ordinate a relatively large number of papers in a single journal issue, we are very close to the publication of our work on the Stepped Wedge cluster-randomised in Trials.

Interestingly, we’re having a launch party (academic-style, of course, ie in the form of a symposium) to celebrate the special issue. This will be held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in September (details are below).

I’m not sure we’ll manage to get as many people as in the picture above, though…

What is a Stepped Wedge Trial?

The term Stepped Wedge Trial was coined by LSHTM’s Professor Peter Smith to describe a study of the impact of the roll out of Hepatitis B vaccination in the Gambia. The design has subsequently received significant and growing interest. The Stepped Wedge cluster-randomised trial is a research design in which clusters are randomly allocated to a time point at which they will introduce a new intervention. The design is used in a wide range of areas of public health, as well as other areas of public policy such as education and international development. It is an attractive design for a number of evaluation scenarios: notably the design is commonly recommended for pragmatic, implementation-science and translational evaluation studies. However, it also poses several challenges to researchers: guidance for many aspects of SWT are absent and there remain significant debate about the strengths and weaknesses of the design.

Symposium details

Researchers at the LSHTM Centre for Evaluation and UCL and written six papers on Stepped Wedge Trials (abstracts attached), due to be published at the end of July. We will host a symposium at LSHTM on 22 September, 2-5pm to discuss these papers and the remaining controversies. The detailed agenda will be released soon but will include plenty of time for lively debate and will be followed by a drinks reception.

The aims of the meeting are:

  • to share current state-of-the-art understanding on the rationale, design, analysis and approaches to sample size determination for stepped wedge trials

  • to foster discussion between, and provide technical support to, practitioners and methodologists considering, planning and undertaking Stepped Wedge Trials

  • to present and launch a series of papers in the journal Trials on Stepped Wedge Trials

Questions the meeting will address include:

  • When should you, and when shouldn’t you, do a Stepped Wedge Trial?

  • What are the commonest, and what are the most robust, characteristics of Stepped Wedge Trials?

  • How could you, and how should you, analyse data from a Stepped Wedge Trial?

  • How should you determine the size of your stepped wedge trial?

Who is the symposium for?

Anyone interested in stepped wedge trials or study design more broadly. The meeting is open to internal and external people. Please feel free to invite people and to circulate this email to your networks.


It will cost us approximately £25 per person to put this event on, but the LSHTM Centre for Evaluation will cover the cost to maximise the number of people able to attend.


Please register for the event at

Other exciting event that day

At lunchtime (1-2pm) on the same day there will be an exciting lecture entitled “De-worming reconsidered: re-analysis of an influential stepped-wedge trial with health and educational outcomes” by Alex Aiken and Calum Davey, also in the John Snow Lecture Theatre. Attendance at this lecture is encouraged for those interested in stepped wedge trials. It will be free to attend and no formal registration process is required.


Please feel free to contact or for any questions.

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