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Carbon cost of pragmatic randomised controlled trials: retrospective analysis of sample trials

Carbon cost of pragmatic randomised controlled trials: retrospective analysis of sample trials
Carbon cost of pragmatic randomised controlled trials: retrospective analysis of sample trials
Objective To calculate the global warming potential, in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions, from a sample of pragmatic randomised controlled trials.

Design Retrospective analysis.

Data source Internal data held by NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre.

Studies included All eligible pragmatic randomised controlled trials funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme during 2002 and 2003.

Main outcome measure CO2 equivalents for trial activities calculated with standard conversion factors.

Results 12 pragmatic randomised controlled trials involving more than 4800 participants and a wide range of technologies were included. The average CO2 emission generated by the trials was 78.4 (range 42.1-112.7) tonnes. This is equivalent to that produced in one year by approximately nine people in the United Kingdom. Commuting to work by the trial team generated the most emissions (average 21 (11.5-35.0) tonnes per trial), followed by study centres’ fuel use (18 (9.3-32.2) tonnes per trial), trial team related travel (15 (2.0-29.0) tonnes per trial), and participant related travel (13 (0-46.7) tonnes per trial).

Conclusions CO2 emissions from pragmatic randomised controlled trials are generated in areas where steps could be taken to reduce them. A large proportion of the CO2 emissions come from travel related to various aspects of a trial. The results of this research are likely to underestimate the total CO2 emissions associated with the trials studied, because of the sources of information available. Further research is needed to explore the additional CO2 emissions generated by clinical trials, over and above those generated by routine care. The results from this project will feed into NIHR guidelines that will advise researchers on how to reduce CO2 emissions.
0959-8138
Lyle, K.
201e8a72-7484-4bd1-9492-f597277ae816
Dent, L.
8b827763-d839-4b4b-bbf2-358a84110294
Bailey, S.
60a95335-0ecb-419a-bb32-d61da0f1db2b
Kerridge, L.
c9fc82ff-a7c0-4a44-9a0d-b675260ea01a
Roberts, I.
808c1118-6815-471d-b75c-c14fdbf18d76
Milne, R.
bd90470b-bba2-49a1-aa12-f1319d78afc2
Lyle, K.
201e8a72-7484-4bd1-9492-f597277ae816
Dent, L.
8b827763-d839-4b4b-bbf2-358a84110294
Bailey, S.
60a95335-0ecb-419a-bb32-d61da0f1db2b
Kerridge, L.
c9fc82ff-a7c0-4a44-9a0d-b675260ea01a
Roberts, I.
808c1118-6815-471d-b75c-c14fdbf18d76
Milne, R.
bd90470b-bba2-49a1-aa12-f1319d78afc2

Lyle, K., Dent, L., Bailey, S., Kerridge, L., Roberts, I. and Milne, R. (2009) Carbon cost of pragmatic randomised controlled trials: retrospective analysis of sample trials. British Medical Journal, 339 (b4187). (doi:10.1136/bmj.b4187).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective To calculate the global warming potential, in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions, from a sample of pragmatic randomised controlled trials.

Design Retrospective analysis.

Data source Internal data held by NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre.

Studies included All eligible pragmatic randomised controlled trials funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme during 2002 and 2003.

Main outcome measure CO2 equivalents for trial activities calculated with standard conversion factors.

Results 12 pragmatic randomised controlled trials involving more than 4800 participants and a wide range of technologies were included. The average CO2 emission generated by the trials was 78.4 (range 42.1-112.7) tonnes. This is equivalent to that produced in one year by approximately nine people in the United Kingdom. Commuting to work by the trial team generated the most emissions (average 21 (11.5-35.0) tonnes per trial), followed by study centres’ fuel use (18 (9.3-32.2) tonnes per trial), trial team related travel (15 (2.0-29.0) tonnes per trial), and participant related travel (13 (0-46.7) tonnes per trial).

Conclusions CO2 emissions from pragmatic randomised controlled trials are generated in areas where steps could be taken to reduce them. A large proportion of the CO2 emissions come from travel related to various aspects of a trial. The results of this research are likely to underestimate the total CO2 emissions associated with the trials studied, because of the sources of information available. Further research is needed to explore the additional CO2 emissions generated by clinical trials, over and above those generated by routine care. The results from this project will feed into NIHR guidelines that will advise researchers on how to reduce CO2 emissions.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: October 2009
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 338825
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/338825
ISSN: 0959-8138
PURE UUID: 3f5dd680-61fc-4f09-b58e-4f03ad8bc94b
ORCID for L. Dent: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8181-840X
ORCID for R. Milne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5117-4380

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 May 2012 13:51
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:52

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