On 7-8th November 2016, 60 people with an interest in the ‘Trials within Cohorts’ (TwiCs) approach for randomised controlled trial design met in London. The purpose of this 2nd TwiCs international symposium was to share perspectives and experiences on ethical aspects of the TwiCs design, discuss how TwiCs relate to the current ethical framework, provide a forum in which to discuss and debate ethical issues and identify future directions for conceptual and empirical research. The symposium was supported by the Wellcome Trust and the NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber and organised by members of the TwiCs network led by Clare Relton and attended by people from the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and USA. The two-day symposium enabled an international group to meet and share experiences of the TwiCs design (also known as the ‘cohort multiple RCT design’), and to discuss plans for future research. Over the two days, invited plenary talks were interspersed by discussions, posters and mini presentations from bioethicists, triallists and health research regulators. Key findings of the symposium were: (1) It is possible to make a compelling case to ethics committees that TwiCs designs are appropriate and ethical; (2) The importance of wider considerations around the ethics of inefficient trial designs; and (3) some questions about the ethical requirements for content and timing of informed consent for a study using the TwiCs design need to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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