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Rebecca Playle   BSc MSc PhD

Dr Rebecca Playle



Reader in Clinical Trials

School of Medicine

Neuadd Meirionnydd, Floor 5, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Reader in Medical Statistics and the Interim Director of Statistics in the Centre for Trials Research (CTR), Cardiff University.

I have over 15 years experience of the design, management, analysis and reporting of individual and cluster randomised trials and other well-designed studies. Prior to working solely in CTR, I held joint appointments as a Lecturer and then a Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics in the Dental and Medical Schools at Cardiff.  My areas of methodological interest include dealing with clustering within group delivered intervention trials, handling missing data, independent patient data meta-analysis, early phase and adaptive trials. The clinical areas I have experience in include public health, diabetes, health services care pathways, oral health and neuroscience.


























  • Moore, L. A. R., Playle, R. A. and Smith, C. 1995. Social group trends in smoking in Wales, 1985-1993. Presented at: 9th World Conference on Tobacco and Health, Paris, France, 10-14 October 1994 Presented at Slama, K. ed.Tobacco and Health: Proceedings of the 9th World Conference on Tobacco and Health, Paris, France, 10-14 October 1994. New York: Plenum Press pp. 575-578.




Research awards

  • 2024-2028  Wellcome Trust: Finding the right treatment for the right people at the right time for Anxiety, £1,016,185 (Co-applicant)
  • 2024-2028  NIHR HSDR: DENIM, Delivering Effective Non-Invasive ventilation in Motor Neuron disease using remote support, £1,602,605 (PPI Co-applicant)
  • 2024-2024  NIHR HTA: PBAS, Establishing the path to a large scale RCT of Positive Behavioural and Active support:a digital technology for supported living services in learning disability, (£179,842), (Co-applicant)
  • 2023-2024  Nuffield Foundation: 3P, Optimisation and feasibility of Triple P parenting programme for remote delivery.  £341,022 (Co-applicant)
  • 2023-2025 NIHR: SONO-BREECH, Diagnostic accuracy of handheld ultrasound at 36 weeks of gestation to determine fetel presentation. £2,128,121 (Co-applicant)
  • 2023-2024 SBRI Healthcare: UP BEAT,  A randomised feasibility trial of OnTrack in stroke rehabilitation. SBRI Healthcare £800,000 (Co-applicant)
  • 2022-2025 YEF: SOLUTIONS, Brief Solution Focused Therapy (BSFT) in 10-17 year olds presenting at police custody: A randomised controlled trial with internal pilot. £823,360 (Co-applicant)
  • 2022-2024 NIHR HSDR: The impact of regulation and registration on the residential childcare workforce: comparing England and Wales. £496,507 (Co-applicant)
  • 2021- 2023 H&CRW RFPPB: TRAK, A randomised controlled feasibility study of TRAK musculoskeletal digital self-management physiotherapy intervention for individuals with musculoskeletal pain. H&CRW RFPPB £229,091 (Co-applicant)
  • 2021-2024 NIHR: ACE, Randomised trial of a peer supported intervention to increase activity for older adults £1,865,431 (Co-applicant)
  • 2021-2024 ALTREGEN: SAMADI, feasibility trial of a novel Saponin treatment for Macular degeneration. £1,200,000 (Co-applicant)
  • 2021- 2022 NIHR: SPIRIT, feasibility study of an intevention severe phobia for children with learning disabilities. £199,992 (Co-applicant)
  • 2020-2025 Wolfson Foundation: The Wolfson Centre for Young People's Mental Health in Wales. £10,000,000 (Co-applicant)
  • 2020-2022 MRC Rapid Response: A global registry for women affected by COVID-19 in pregnancy and descriptive study of maternity services’ responses during COVID-19 outbreak (PAN-COVID) £208,479 (co-applicant)
  • 2018-2021 MRC. A non-invasive ultrasound-guided high intensity focused ultrasound system for placental and fetal vascular ablation £1,583,130 (Co-applicant)
  • 2018-2019 Jacques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation. Physical Activity and Exercise outcomes in Huntington’s disease (PACE-HD). £411,005 (Co-applicant)
  • 2018-2021 Multiple Sclerosis Society. Life-style, Exercise and Activity Package for People living with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (LEAP-HD). £298,509 (Co-applicant)
  • 2018-2019 NIHR Programme Development Grant. PARC:A self-management intervention to support Physical Activity for people with Rare Neurological conditions. £99,946 (Co-applicant)
  • 2018-2020 Health and Care Research Wales. SEWTU Infrastructure funding extension.  £173,3333 (Co-applicant)
  • 2017-2019 COGTRAIN Health and Care Research Wales. Exploring computerised cognitive training as a therapeutic intervention for people with Huntington's disease £329,695 (Co-applicant)
  • 2015-2018 NISCHR. South East Wales Trials Unit Infrastructure Funding. (£2.6M) (Co-applicant)
  • 2014-2016 NIHR HTA. MAMKIND: A novel peer support intervention using motivational interviewing for breast feeding maintenance, a UK feasibility study (£293,307) (Co-applicant)
  • 2013-2018 European Commission (Framework Programme 7). BRAINTRAIN: Taking imaging into the therapeutic domain: Self-regulation of brain systems for mental disorders. (€5.9mio across 10 partners) (Co-applicant)
  • 2013-2016 SCRA. GASP: Early intervention for alcohol and illicit drug using pre-trial prisoners (£213,620) (Co-applicant)
  • 2012-2014 NIHR PHR. AWLPI: Randomised Controlled Trial of All-Wales Licensed Premises Intervention to Reduce Alcohol-Related Violence. £653,849 (Co-applicant)
  • 2010-2016 HTA. Seal or Varnish? A randomised trial to determine the relative cost and effectiveness of pit and fissure sealants and fluoride varnish in preventing dental decay. (£1,258,498) (Co-applicant)
  • 2009-2017 MRC NPRI. Healthy Eating and Lifestyle in Pregnancy (HELP): A cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a weight management intervention in pregnancy. £1,121,250 (Co-applicant)

Research interests

My areas of methodological interest include dealing with clustering within group delivered intervention trials, handling missing data and independent patient data meta-analysis. The clinical areas I have experience in include public health, diabetes, health services care pathways, oral health and neuroscience


Teaching Profile

Previous Undergraduate Statistics Teaching 

  • Introduction to SPSS, data entry, cleaning and management, graphing, summary statistics and the Normal distribution
  • Introduction to confidence intervals, sampling variation, testing for normality, confidence intervals for paired data
  • Probability and hypothesis testing,   paired parametric and non-parametric tests
  • Comparson of independent groups, unpaired parametric and non-parametric tests
  • Proportions and Caregorical data, Chi-square tests, Relative risks and Odds ratios
  • Study design
  • Statistics for critical appraisal

    Previous Postgraduate and Advanced Teaching 

    • Adequacy of statistical information, interpretation of statistical tests, Type I and Type II errors, study planning and power, statistical significance and clinical importance
    • Oneway ANOVA, assumptions of ANOVA, model building and checking, post hoc tests
    • Two factor ANOVA, fixed and random effects, model building and checking
    • Regression, bivariate and multivariate linear regression, assumption checking and model fitting
    • Logistic regression, bivariate and multivariate regression


    Career Profile

    Qualifications: BSc MSc PhD

    Work history:

    2022 - current Interim Director of Statistics, CTR, Cardiff University, UK

    2019 - 2022 Reader and Deputy Director of Statistics, CTR, Cardiff University

    2007- 2019 Head of Health Services Research Statistics, CTR, Cardiff University

    2011- 2017 Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, Cardiff University

    2002-2011 Lecturer in Medical Statistics, Cardiff University

    2001-2002 Lecturer in Statistics, University of Western Sydney, Australia

    1995-2001 Medical Statistician, Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, UK

    1993-1995 Research Statistician, Health Promotion Wales, Cardiff, UK

    Memberships / External Activities

    Fellow of the HEA

    Awards / Prizes

    Certificate in Teaching Statistics in Higher Education



    I am interested in supervising undergraduate or postgraduate students in statistics, research design and data analysis applied in medical and allied areas of research 

    Past projects

    PhD supervisor and co-supervisor for the following successful students

    PhD statistical advisor

    MPhil co-supervisor

    • Sarah Merrett

    MScD Orthodontics supervisor

    • 2019 - 3 students
    • 2018 - 2 students
    • 2017 - 4 students
    • 2016 - 4 students
    • 2015 - 3 students
    • 2014 - 4 students
    • 2013 - 3 students
    • 2012 - 3 students
    • 2011 - 4 students
    • 2010 - 4 students
    • 2009 - 3 students
    • 2008 - 3 students
    • 2007 - 3 students
    • 2006 - 3 students
    • 2005 - 3 students
    • 2004 - 2 students

    MSc Operational Research and Applied Statistics co-supervision

    • Tim Pickles
    • Aysha Alhiddabi
    • Mago Murangwa

    Intercalated BSc co-supervisor

    • Sioned Davies
    • Carys Gilbert

    MPH supervisor

    • Panoraia Kalapotharakou


    MD examiner and MPhil review panel member

    Staff mentor for Fellowships and Career Development (Cardiff futures)