Participating in Clinical Trials

As you may know, the university has a clinical research centre where they run clinical studies. You can register as a volunteer on their website, as well as see any open studies ( and occasionally there’s emails about the studies sent out to all students. I recently participated in a study at the university and thought you might find it interesting to hear about it.

The title of the study I participated in is “The effect of chilling and reheating pasta on postprandial glycaemia”. I had to go in for a screening appointment (it took roughly 30 min) where I was asked about my medical history, allergies, current medications and measured my height, weight, glucose and haemoglobin levels. I was also asked to fill out consent forms and I had a chance to ask any questions about what the study would involve. Two days after the screening I got an email notifying me that I was going to be part of the study. The study itself involved going in for two 3h sessions. Before each session I was given a control meal to consume as my last meal before the study and I was required to fast for at least 10 hours and not exercise for 24h previous to the session. Once I arrived I had to provide them with a baseline blood sample and my blood pressure was measured. Afterwards, I was given a pasta meal that I had to eat within 5 minutes and then I had to give them a blood sample 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after the time I started eating the pasta. The samples were taken using something that looked like a usb stick with a twisty end, after removing the twisty part I had to press that end against my fingertips and then push a button. Afterwards I had to fill a small vial with blood and if the blood stopped flowing before the vial was full then I had to prick another finger. The first time around I was really struggling to get the blood samples and most of them required that I prick 4 fingers total plus get help from the people running the study but the second time around all samples took 1-2 finger pricks so I guess there is a bit of a learning curve involved.

After attending the second session I was sent a form to fill out with my bank details in order to get paid for my participation in the study. The total amount I’ll get paid is £50 (so £25 per session, you don’t get paid for the screening appointment) and I was told that I’d get the money transferred roughly 7 days after I send the forms back (the amount you get paid varies a lot per study but you are told how much you’ll get paid if you complete the study from before the screening appointment). Overall it was a good experience and I’m glad I signed up for it as not only is my body contributing to science but I’m also getting paid for it.

If you’re interested in other studies outside the university you can also check out UK Clinical Trials Gateway ( and trials4patients (, both websites have trials both for specific conditions and healthy volunteers. You can also find trials for specific conditions from charity websites that focus on that condition. Another source of clinical studies is drug company’s websites, however, all of the drug companies I’ve registered with I’ve seen their trials listed in either of the first two websites. So far my experience has been pretty similar everywhere, the main difference is that some places do an in depth screening before they add you to their database and send you emails when you’re eligible for something instead of doing the screening after you express interest in a specific trial.

I hope this was useful, if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask.