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Personal profile


My current research activities concern randomised trials that use routinely collected data (such as electronic health records). These trials can either randomise patients or practices to different interventions (the latter are known are known as cluster trials). These types of trials could help to answer questions around routinely used interventions and should be conducted with minimal impact on clinicians and patients.  Other research activities concern multidatabase research and analysis of quality of electronic health records.


Tjeerd van Staa studied medicine and received his degree in 1987 at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After several years of working as a practising physician, he joined the pharmaceutical industry and worked as an epidemiologist and was also the European Qualified Person for Drug Safety. During this time, he obtained a MSc in Epidemiology (McGill University, Canada) and was awarded a PhD in Pharmacoepidemiology at Utrecht University in 1999. He has also a Master’s in Medical Law and Ethics. He was the Director of Research of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink from 2006 to 2014. In May 2014, he became Professor of Health eResearch at the Farr Institute of Manchester University. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed articles and is a well-recognised speaker in the field of pragmatic trials, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacovigilance and osteoporosis. He has been awarded several academic affiliations (Utrecht University, the Netherlands; Medical Research Council, Southampton; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine). Van Staa is the recipient of the 2005 Iain I Boyle Award of the European Calcified Tissue Society (a monetary price awarded to the scientist who has made significant contributions to bone disease research (http://www.ectsoc.org/).

Research interests

National Osteoporosis Society – incidence of fractures in the UK.

Innovative Medicines Initiative (collaboration of EU and Pharmaceutical Industry) – GETREAL: clinical effectiveness in drug development.

Wellcome Trust - Randomisation within the database: a feasibility trial evaluating the comparative effects of statins in a research network of general practices (RETRO-PRO).

National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme -Antibiotics for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomised clinical trial within the General Practice Research Database.

NIHR- HTA, Real-time evaluation and refinement of tools and criteria used in primary care to aid hospital referral decisions for patients of all ages during an influenza pandemic.

Wellcome Trust - Pharmacogenetics of statin-induced muscle toxicity: exploration using the UK General Practice Research Database.

Wellcome Trust - Cluster Randomised Trials in a primary care database: utilising electronic patient records for intervention research.

Wellcome Trust - Influences on psychosocial and physical health in early adulthood: phenotypic enrichment of the ALSPAC cohort through linkage to primary care electronic patient records and other databases.

Department of Health. An investigation of the effects of long term exposure to air pollution on cardiorespiratory morbidity and mortality in a large population cohort.

Medical Research Council - Role of primary care in translating effective lifestyle modification strategies.

Innovative Medicines Initiative (collaboration of EU and Pharmaceutical Industry) - Pharmacological Research on Outcomes of Therapeutics by a European Consortium (PROTECT).

FP-7 EU funding - Translational Research and Patient Safety in Europe (TRANSFORM).

Technology Strategy Board. Visualisation of the Quality of Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research.

Medical Research Council - Investigation of the association between traffic pollution and various health and physiological effects in London.

Innovative Medicines Initiative (collaboration of EU and Pharmaceutical Industry) PROTECT - To improve the phenotyping of outcomes (case definitions) for key adverse events with sufficient validity that can be used to for future pharmacogenetic studies in EHR databases. 

Department of Health – Research Capability Program. Randomisation techniques and fraud detection in Randomised Evaluations of Accepted Choices in Treatment (REACT) trials.

Arthritis Research UK. Musculoskeletal health and extending working life.



Summer course Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety, Utrecht University. Course Director. Yearly since 2006.

Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance. Short Course in Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Yearly since 2007.

Practical Pharmacoepidemiology (formerly Advanced Pharmacoepidemiology) Short Course in Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Yearly since 2010.

Eu2P - European education and training programme in pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology (funded by IMI). Lecturer for one module.

Methodological knowledge


Electronic Health Records

Pragmatic randomised trials

Cluster randomised trials

Study design



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


  • Population health and ecosystems


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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