Supporting the development, conduct, reporting and dissemination of randomised controlled trials of aphasia interventions to optimise the rehabilitation and recovery of people with aphasia.
- Continued growth of multidisciplinary, international network:
Seeking broader collaboration beyond EU COST countries. Inviting collaborators with considerable expertise in aphasia from across Commonwealth countries and the USA to participate in the network.
- Development of trials
Arising from our 2016-2017 activities (and building upon the priority setting work 2016-17) will be a new shared aphasia research agenda mapping the important research topics that need to be addressed, people leading these activities and proposed methodologies. Collaborative support for strategically coordinated, multi-centred aspiration research activities would also be provided to increase mainstream funding secured to support aphasia research (for example National Institute for Health Research (UK), National Institute for Health (USA)).
- Conduct of trials
Supporting and facilitating international access to secondary data-analysis via our anticipated individual patient data archive (estimated 3000 individual patient data) in CATs would inform the development, feasibility and planning of new trials. This will evolve from the RELEASE database (STROKE01.4). New trials in aphasia are still emerging (15 identified in the recent Cochrane Systematic Review STROKE01.1) and so continued recruitment particularly of randomised controlled trial individual patient data would continue to strengthen the quality of the dataset. Access to such a dataset infrastructurally supported by CATs would ‘fast-track’ the refinement of new research questions before costly feasibility testing ‘in the field’.
- Capacity Building
Funded PhD training fellowships are very limited for junior researchers with a specific interest in aphasia. Sponsorship of a modest PhD studentship (stipend plus fees) will support the development of the next generation of aphasia trialists. Studentship opportunities would be advertised internationally and be awarded following competitive application rounds to the best candidate in a high-quality aphasia research training environment. CATs would further support capacity building in trial development and management through specific training schools, support participation in trial management training and mentorship of new trialists by experienced colleagues. This programme of capacity building internationally would enhance the quality of the trials conducted and the opportunities for international multi-centred trials.
Reporting and Dissemination: Improvements in reporting of trials would be supported through writing workshops and mentorship and a journal special issue. The network has applied to COST to support some additional costs for a special issue within the International Journal of Stroke. New publications would be shared amongst the group and feed into the next strategy development group meeting.