Types of research

We use research to find out if medicines, devices, treatments and diagnostic medical tools are safe and effective.

The findings from a research study can change the way we care for people in Australia and around the world.

Clinical research includes:

  • clinical trials
  • genetic analysis (studying DNA)
  • using data from patient registries
  • using data from a sample of urine, blood or other items.

What a clinical trial is

A clinical trial is where treatments are given to people to test if it’s safe and effective. This is done in a hospital, research centre or another clinical setting.

A clinical trial can include:

  • new medicines
  • medical treatments and procedures
  • surgical procedures
  • medical devices
  • vaccines
  • educational interventions
  • diets
  • psychological or behavioural counselling.

What it involves

Clinical research can range from something as simple as an interview or questionnaire.

It may also involve:

  • giving researchers permission to look at your medical history
  • providing blood or urine
  • testing a new medicine or medical treatment - this is called clinical trial.

The benefits and risks of doing a clinical trial


When you take part in a clinical trial, you’re helping to improve medical knowledge about a disease or condition and how we can treat it. You may also get access to new treatments that aren’t available now.

In some cases, it may improve the health of other people with the same disease or condition.


There may be some risks if you take part in a clinical trial.

New drugs, devices or procedures are always tested first in a non-clinical setting. These may have been tested on animals to find out how much risk might be involved.

We may know about some side effects but not others, and you may react differently to a medicine or procedure.

You may also have to stop take your usual medicine to test how effective a new one is. There could be risks with that.

We’ll describe any risks we know about in the informed consent form. Researchers will give this to you before you decide to take part in a clinical trial and answer any questions you have about the risks.

Clinical trials are regulated and governed by legal and ethical codes. All research must be approved by the Darling Downs Health Human Research Ethics Committee. The committee is responsible for assessing the ethical principles of the research and protecting the welfare and rights of anyone taking part in research.

Does it cost anything?

It doesn’t cost anything to take part in a clinical trial. They’re usually sponsored by government agencies, universities, medical centres, pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers.

Taking time off work

If you need time off work or study to go to appointments, we can give you a medical certificate.

Taking part is voluntary

Taking part in a clinical trial is voluntary. You can also change your mind at any time. Your treatment won’t be affected, and you’ll continue to get the best care we’re able to offer.

Informed consent

Before you take part in a clinical trial, you need to know everything about it so you can decide if it’s right for you.

For example, you’ll need to know:

  • what the trial is for
  • how long it will take
  • about all the procedures and appointments
  • who the key contact people are.

We’ll explain any potential known risks and the benefits to you before you agree to take part. This is called informed consent. You’ll need to sign an informed consent form before you’re enrolled in a clinical trial,

Finding a clinical trial

Talk to your treating clinician if you’re interested in doing a clinical trial.

Register your interest by emailing our team on DDHHS-ClinicalTrials@health.qld.gov.au

You can also see if the following registers have any trials you think may be suitable.

Last updated: May 2024