ESO Committee Corner – Trials Network (ESOTA)

Trials Network Committee

Robin Lemmens, Belgium (Chair)
Christina Kruuse, Denmark
Christine Roffe, United Kingdom
Erik Lundström, Sweden
Jean Marc Olivot, France
Michael Knoflach, Austria
Peter Kelly, Ireland
Philippe Lyrer, Switzerland
Silke Walter, Germany
Simona Sacco, Italy


ESOTA has developed and grown under the inspiring leadership and enthusiasm of Prof Peter Kelly who has recently stepped down as chair. It is become an international European ‘network of networks’ to support stroke randomised trials in Europe and several trials are actively recruiting patients in these networks. The first five research networks included the Dutch CONTRAST Network, Stroke Trials Network Ireland, the UK Clinical Research Network, Swiss Stroke Trials Network and the Spanish Stroke Society Network. Over the years these were joined by the Scottish Stroke Research Network, Turkish Stroke Research and Clinical Trials Network, Stroke Trials Network Germany and Belgian Network for Clinical Stroke Trials resulting in over 400 participating hospitals. ESOTA is in contact with various other national networks which will likely join in this or the coming years.

As ESOC 2021 was converted into a virtual event is was decided to have ESOTA webinar in June 2021. Following the challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit patients in stroke trials speakers were invited to talk about challenges and opportunities in the design and development of future studies. Dr. Alistair Nichol underscored the potential of platform trials in critical care medicine which were launch quickly during a pandemic to test multiple hypotheses simultaneously instead of sequentially. A format that could potentially be implemented in stroke trials as well. Dr. Götz Thomalla discussed the challenges and difficulties in obtaining consent in acute stroke trials with the need to waive consent if this cannot be obtained in a reliable manner. Mrs. Kay Duggan Walls provided a comprehensive overview of the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 program including practical advice for investigators with an interest to start an application. In the last presentation Dr. Christine Roffe elaborated on how to successfully engage patients and public in stroke research to benefit both patients and researchers.

To improve the visibility of ESOTA the website ( has received an update.  It now includes an oversight of the aims and goal of ESOTA, participating centers and their interest, stroke trials within Europe and other supportive material. In the coming months the possibility of an implementation of a comprehensive trials dictionary will be discussed. The idea is to compile information for national regulations.

The main goal of ESOTA remains to make it easier for ESO investigators to conduct multinational stroke trials in Europe. ESOTA investigators seeking collaborators for their trials can find contact details for each network on the website including the interests of each participating center. Stroke researchers in countries that have not yet joined ESOTA can find the membership information on the website. Investigators can always send an email to for further information on ESOTA.