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Jonathan Cook

BSc, PhD, CStat

Professor of Clinical Trials & Medical Statistics/OCTRU Deputy Director

  • University Lecturer & Deputy Director of OCTRU

Expertise in medical statistics, especially clinical trials, randomised trials, and surgical research


Jonathan’s main research interest is in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of randomised controlled trials, particularly surgical trials. His specific areas of interest include the specification of the target difference in the sample size calculation, addressing interventional expertise and methods for improving recruitment. Jonathan has extensive experience in systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials and diagnostic research. He has collaborated on numerous projects, including randomised trials, observational and diagnostic studies, methodological projects and systematic reviews in a variety of clinical areas, such as anaesthesia, cardiovascular research, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, primary care, general surgery and urology. Particular methodological contributions have been in the design and analysis of surgical trials (including the handling of surgical expertise and addressing non-compliance to treatment allocation), and also specifying the target difference in definitive ("Phase III") randomised trials. A news article related to the DELTA2 guidance, of which a summary paper was published in the BMJ and Trials journals, is available here.

Jonathan leads a programme of his own research and was the lead investigator of the DELTA2 and PARCS projects and co-lead of the NIHR-MRC funded placebo surgery guidance project.  Jonathan is the Head of the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) Statistics Team, which is a group of 15 statisticians. His current clinical projects include the grant funded ACLSTARR, LEADER, MACRO, ORIF, amongst others. He is also the Deputy Director of OCTRU having previously served as a Deputy Director of the Surgical Intervention Trials Unit (SITU). Jonathan supervises a number of postgraduate students based both in Oxford and elsewhere on topics related to trials methodology. He also tutors undergraduate students and teaches and examines postgraduate (DPhil and Masters level) students on the methodology of clinical trials, systematic reviews and the related use of medical statistics. Jonathan also has a number of other internal managerial and budgetary responsibilities. He has also undertaken external consultancy as a medical statistics expert (including legal work). 

Jonathan graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a BSc in Statistics. He undertook a PhD on the statistical assessment of learning curve effects in randomised controlled trials. Subsequently, he worked at the Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen as a statistician. In August 2007, he started an MRC UK Fellowship focusing on methodology related to the design, conduct and analysis of surgical randomised trials. As part of this fellowship, he spent 12 months working at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada before returned to the Health Services Research Unit in August 2009 to take up a position as a methodologist. In 2011, he was awarded an MRC UK Methodology Fellowship focusing on expertise-based trial designs and in August 2012 became a Senior Research Fellow. He joined the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM) in 2013 on a secondment, during which he was appointed to a University Lectureship in NDORMS, University of Oxford.

Jonathan holds a number of external responsibilities. He serves on and chairs Data Monitoring and Steering committees for a number of clinical trials and was recently appointed as a Deputy Editor of Clinical Trials, a member of the Editorial Board of Trials journal and a statistical consultant for the British Journal of Surgery. Other responsibilities include serving on grant funding committees (e.g., for the NIHR's Health Technology Assessment and Research for Patient Benefit programmes). In 2023 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Clinical Trials @SCTorg.


He has over 300 publications including over 200 full journal articles, more than 30 as first author, and over 30 as senior author, in leading medical, clinical trials, methodology and epidemiology journals.

Jonathan's ORCID number is 0000-0002-4156-6989, his Google Scholar account is available here, and his twitter handle is @ProfJACook.

His book "An introduction to clinical trials", published by OUP, is now available An Introduction to Clinical Trials : Cook, Prof Jonathan A.: Books)

An Introduction to Clinical Trials

Book cover © OUP