The Robertson Centre evolved from the Department of Statistics at Glasgow University in 1988 when Ian Ford established the Databases Unit to support a number of clinical research projects. The Unit grew rapidly, specialising in projects in the cardiovascular and neuroscience areas.
In 1993, pump priming support from the Robertson Trust allowed the creation of an expanded group (The Robertson Centre for Biostatistics) with Gordon Murray as its first Director. When Gordon moved to a chair at the University of Edinburgh in 1996, Ian Ford stood down from his position as head of the Department of Statistics to take over as Director. The Centre continued to expand, providing collaborative research support, a biostatistical advisory service and CPD courses to the biomedical community and beyond.
Major contributions to landmark clinical trials established the Centre’s international reputation. Highlights in the cardiovascular area include the WOSCOPS, PROSPER, IONA, CAPRICORN, IMAGES, BEAUTifUL, PERFORM, SHIFT, SIGNIFY, EchoCRT and DOTHF trials.
In recent years we have contributed to research in most areas of medicine. Strong IT and Projects Administration groups have evolved under the Directorships of Sharon Kean and Liz Anderson. In 2008, John Norrie returned to Glasgow after five years as Director of The Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT) at Aberdeen University, to take up a Chair in Clinical Trials and Biostatistics and to lead an initiative in Complex Intervention Trials. John was Director for Biostatistics in the Robertson Centre until 2011 when he returned to Aberdeen as Director of ChaRT. Colin McCowan (now professor of Health Informatics) joined the Centre in 2012 to develop our interests in record linkage and health informatics.
In 2007, the Robertson Centre, in partnership with the Glasgow Clinical Research Facility and Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS R&D, made a successful application to create a fully registered Clinical Trials Unit – now the NIHR CRN (National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network) fully registered Glasgow Clinical Trials Unit.
In 2009 the Centre moved from the Faculty of Information and Mathematical Sciences to the Faculty of Medicine. From there, it became part of the School of Medicine and is now based in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing within the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS).