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Dr Stephen Bremner

Stephen Bremner web

Dr Stephen Bremner (BSc, MSc, PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics
T: +44 (0)1273 644126
Location: Watson Building, Room 322, University of Brighton Falmer Campus, BN1 9PH

Areas of expertise: Applied statistics; biostatistics; clinical trials; data analysis; epidemiological statistics; epidemiology; health informatics; mental health (human disease); primary care (health); statistical modelling; statistics for clinical trials

Research areas: Pragmatic randomised controlled trials; epidemiology using large patient databases


After completing a BSc in Mathematical Sciences (University of Strathclyde, 1995) and an MSc in Medical Statistics (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 1996), Dr Stephen Bremner spent three years as a statistician at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London, working on studies of the short-term effects of air pollution on health.

In 1999, he travelled to São Paulo and spent eight months at the Brazilian Cochrane Centre supporting clinicians doing systematic reviews. Returning to St. George’s, in 2001, Stephen commenced a PhD in which he carried out case-control studies, nested in birth cohorts from two primary care databases, to investigate early life risk factors for childhood hay fever. He also worked on a large systematic review of air pollution and health.

In 2007, employed as a statistician at the Healthcare Commission in London, Stephen analysed Hospital Episode Statistics and data from the NHS Surveys Programme.  Between 2008 and 2015, he was employed as a lecturer in the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. 

Stephen joined the Division of Primary Care & Public Health, BSMS in 2015.  His current principal research interests centre on the design and analysis of randomised controlled trials of complex interventions in community healthcare settings.


Stephen is Senior Statistician at Brighton and Sussex Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and has oversight of the statistical aspects of research linked to the CTU, and at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust via the Protocol Review Committee. He is an independent member on several trial steering and data monitoring committees and associate editor for BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies. Stephen is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Stephen is the senior trial statistician co-applicant on an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research led by Dr Steve Gillard, St. George’s, University of London entitled “Enhanced discharge from inpatient to community mental health care: a programme of applied research to manualise, pilot and trial a Peer Worker intervention.” He is also trial statistician co-applicant on an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) grant for a feasibility RCT on the use of gaming consoles to improve motor function in children with cerebral palsy (CI: Dr Will Farr), trial statistician on REDUCEe (RfPB) (CI Dr Sumita Verma), a feasibility RCT of long-term abdominal drains versus repeated drainage in individuals with untreatable ascites, and trial statistician on PRIME (RfPB) (CI Dr Khalid Ali), a Prospective study to develop a model to stratify the risk of medication-related harm in hospitalised elderly patients in the UK.

Stephen is second/third supervisor to a number of PhD/MD students at BSMS and a PhD student at QMUL. He supports researchers at BSMS and BSUH at a weekly statistics clinic, held in Watson Building.


Stephen leads a two-day course on “Handling and preparing data for publication”, which runs every few months for researchers at BSMS and its partner NHS Trusts.

Selected publications

Knowles C, Horrocks E, Bremner S, Stevens N, Norton C, O'Connell P et al. Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation versus sham electrical stimulation for the treatment of faecal incontinence in adults (CONFIDeNT): a double-blind, multicentre, pragmatic, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2015;.

Leber W, McMullen H, Anderson J, Marlin N, Santos A, Bremner S et al. Promotion of rapid testing for HIV in primary care (RHIVA2): a cluster-randomised controlled trial. The Lancet HIV. 2015;2(6):e229-e235.

Thin N, Taylor S, Bremner S, Emmanuel A, Hounsome N, Williams N et al. Randomized clinical trial of sacral versus percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation in patients with faecal incontinence. British Journal of Surgery. 2015;102(4):349-358.

Wright N, Ivers N, Eldridge S, Taljaard M, Bremner S. A review of the use of covariates in cluster randomized trials uncovers marked discrepancies between guidance and practice. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2015;68(6):603-609.

Priebe S, Yeeles K, Bremner S, Lauber C, Eldridge S, Ashby D et al. Effectiveness of financial incentives to improve adherence to maintenance treatment with antipsychotics: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2013;347(oct07 3):f5847-f5847.

Underwood M, Lamb S, Eldridge S, Sheehan B, Slowther A, Spencer A et al. Exercise for depression in elderly residents of care homes: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2013;382(9886):41-49.

Taylor S, Sohanpal R, Bremner S, Devine A, McDaid D, Fernández J et al. Self-management support for moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot randomised controlled trial. British Journal of General Practice. 2012;62(603):687-695.

Sturdy P, Bremner S, Harper G, Mayhew L, Eldridge S, Eversley J et al. Impact of Asthma on Educational Attainment in a Socioeconomically Deprived Population: A Study Linking Health, Education and Social Care Datasets. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(11):e43977.

Raleigh V, Cooper J, Bremner S, Scobie S. Patient safety indicators for England from hospital administrative data: case-control analysis and comparison with US data. BMJ. 2008;337(1):a1702-a1702.

Bremner S, Carey I, DeWilde S, Richards N, Maier W, Hilton S et al. Vaccinations, infections and antibacterials in the first grass pollen season of life and risk of later hayfever. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2007;37(4):512-517.