GeneRAtiNg StUdent Recruiters for Surgical TriaLs (GRANULE) is a STARSurg course co-delivered with the Birmingham Surgical Centre and Bristol Conduct-II Hub, funded by the Bowel Disease Research Foundation and accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

GRANULE is a unique course designed to equip medical students and junior doctors with the knowledge and initial practical skill set to recruit patients into randomised trials. We aim to nurture the next generation of surgical researchers while increasing recruitment to surgical trials.

The focus of the day is around communicating using clinical trials ‘language’ and demonstrating the principles behind ‘equipoise’, which means uncertainty over which treatment is best. The course teaches candidates to communicate this uncertainty to patients and the need to assess it within a trial.  It is an interactive day which uses examples of trials to give delegates several opportunities for practical experience with simulated patients, alongside senior faculty who guide scenarios and create an immersive environment.  It is run in small groups of approximately 20 candidates to ensure a high faculty to delegate ratio for an optimal learning environment.

Following the course, candidates are linked to local research collaboratives and/or mentoring contacts in order that they are able to put their new skills into action by participating in on-going clinical trials and research.

GRANULE has become a successful course internationally, preparing students and junior doctors for recruiting patients into clinical trials. It is growing in popularity, with courses having been delivered in Austria, Rwanda, Ghana, India, New Zealand, Australia, Lithuania, and France as well as the UK.  

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) currently hosts GRANULE as an e-learning course to provide further knowledge and skills to do so (accessible if you are affiliated to the NIHR, NHS, a UK university or other publicly funded organisation conducting and supporting clinical research). 

These in person courses have been free for attendees due to generous funding to-date by the Bowel Disease Research Foundation (BDRF).