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Research_

Research at Sydney Medical School

Producing high-impact research to address global health issues
We are dedicated to improving health through excellence in research, creating new knowledge and fostering innovation and research at the highest level, across the disciplines of basic science, clinical medicine and public health.

Our research is focused on both discovery and translating discoveries into improved healthcare, with major research programs in diseases and health challenges of national and international significance. 

We produce high-impact research that addresses the most important global health issues and challenges in our areas of research strength. 

Recent research highlights

  • In 2018, Sydney researchers were successful in securing over $16 million in NHMRC funding for 28 projects, including the most Early Career Fellowships awarded to any institution in NSW.
  • The University of Sydney has won $4.5 million in grants from The Department of Foreign Affairs to lead programs aimed at preventing infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance in Fiji and Vietnam. Over the next three years, Professor Joel Negin and Associate Professor Gregory Fox will lead multidisciplinary teams to combat the emergence and spread of water-borne and antimicrobial resistant infectious diseases.
  • Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Cardiovascular Initiative have received eight of thirteen NSW Health Early-Mid Career Fellowships.
  • Professor Gerard Sutton and his team from the University's Save Sight Institute have received $1.1 million from the NSW Medical Devices Fund after developing a corneal pen, known as the iFix, which seals eye wounds to treat corneal ulceration, promote active healing of the wound site and reduce scarring. 
  • University of Sydney researcher Dr Michael Bowen has won a $634,841 NHMRC project grant to develop new approaches for treating autism and improve the health and healthcare of children and their families living with autism.
  • Neurologist Professor Steve Vucic has been awarded the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ Eric Susman Prize for his pioneering work over the past five years to identify the mechanisms that underlie motor neurone disease (MND).
  • Headed by Professor Maree Teesson AC, the University of Sydney will soon be home to a world-first centre tackling substance use and mental disorders in young people.
  • Biomedical researchers from the University of Sydney, working in collaboration with Cochlear Limited, have conducted a world-first study that could lead to more accurate predictions of how cochlear implant recipients are able to understand speech.
  • Four University of Sydney researchers were honoured at the 2018 National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) annual Research Excellence Awards in Canberra. The prestigious awards recognise recent outstanding performance in the health and medical research field.
  • Six University of Sydney researchers were included in the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers List, which identifies influential researchers having the greatest impact on the research community.

Major research themes 

Our research is closely aligned with the activities of the faculty, and we contribute to the following major research themes:

Other research themes

Our research seeks to find solutions to complex health issues faced by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. 

Initiatives 
  • Health economics
  • Oral health
  • Trans-disciplinary allied health practice
  • Program evaluation
  • Community capacity building
  • Children's health, including social and emotional well-being
  • E-medicine
  • Culturally competent service delivery
Researchers

We work with national and international partners on projects that contribute to the health and wellbeing of our neighbours. We also aim to contribute to building the research capacity of developing countries in our region.

Initiatives
  • We're investigating non-communicable diseases and public health research in China. 
  • Our researchers are exploring infectious and chronic diseases in India. 
  • We're targeting maternal and child health, emerging infectious diseases and the rise of non-communicable diseases in Indonesia.
  • We're enhancing health research capacity and reducing neonatal mortality due to infection in the Phillippines.
  • We're also looking into health systems improvement, medical education, and maternal and child health in Vietnam.
Researchers

We focus on specific health issues affecting rural and remote populations by developing and evaluating regionally relevant projects.

Initiatives 
  • The ARCHER team are exploring the health and wellbeing of children in rural areas as they progress from childhood through adolescence and puberty.
  • Our researchers are helping to develop safe work practices for chemicals, vermin control, quad-bikes and other unique risks facing people working in agricultural and farming industries.
  • We're leading the way in the development of new simulation tools and techniques for use in remote medicine and trauma education.
  • We're also investigating indigenous health.
Researchers

SCRIBE research

SCRIBE refers to single-case reporting guideline in behavioural interventions. SCRIBE 2016 is a reporting guideline that provides authors of single-case research with a tool that specifies which information about their study is essential in their published report.

Numerous reporting guidelines are available and are accessible via equator-network.org. The key purpose of all guidelines is to improve scientific literature through clear, complete, and transparent reporting of how studies were conducted.

The SCRIBE 2016 guideline contains a set of items, each covering important aspects relevant specifically for single-case research designs, which authors may wish to consider and address in their report. The items reflect a minimum standard of reporting and were derived during an extensive consensus procedure, involving international experts in the field of single-case research.

SCRIBE 2016 Checklist (pdf, 28KB) in conjunction with the accompanying SCRIBE 2016 Explanation and Elaboration document, can assist authors in writing research reports that are clear, complete and transparent.

Publications that describe a study involving a single participant appear frequently in the literature of many fields within the behavioural sciences. The SCRIBE 2016 provides authors, readers and reviewers of single case design studies that are published in scientific journals a tool to maximise clarity, transparency and completeness of such reports:

  • Authors may use the SCRIBE 2016 Explanation & Elaboration (E&E) to assist with writing up their study.
  • Readers and reviewers may use the SCRIBE 2016 Checklist (pdf, 28KB) to evaluate if the conduct of a study is reported so that it is easily understandable what was done (clarity), how it was done (transparency), and if all information is provided in sufficient detail (completeness).
  • Editors may require that authors follow the SCRIBE 2016 for submission to their journal, in order to improve the scientific reporting of single-subject research.

The SCRIBE 2016 Statement paper introduces the SCRIBE 2016 Checklist (pdf, 28KB). It describes the methodology that the SCRIBE project used in the development of the checklist. The Statement paper was co-published in 10 journals to facilitate the wide dissemination of the SCRIBE 2016 across the behavioural sciences.

Below is a list of these co-publishing journals. Click on any of these to access the Statement paper.

Statement citation

Tate, R L, M Perdices, U Rosenkoetter, W Shadish, S Vohra, D H Barlow, R Horner, A Kazdin, T Kratochwill, S McDonald, M Sampson, L Shamseer, L Togher, R Albin, C Backman, J Douglas, JJ Evans, D Gast, R Manolov, G Mitchell, L Nickels, J Nikles, T Ownsworth, M Rose, C H Schmid and B Wilson (2016). The SCRIBE 2016 Statement.

In the Explanation and Elaboration (E&E) publication, the content of the SCRIBE 2016 checklist is described in detail. For each checklist item, a rationale for inclusion of the item in the checklist is provided, and its importance for scientific reports of single case studies is elaborated. The items are also accompanied by examples of adequate reporting found in the literature.

The E&E should be used in conjunction with the SCRIBE 2016 Checklist (pdf, 28KB). This will assist in ensuring that all crucial information about a study is covered adequately when writing up single case research for publication.

E&E citation

Tate, R L, M Perdices, U Rosenkoetter, S McDonald, L Togher, W Shadish, R Horner, T Kratochwill, D H Barlow, A Kazdin, M Sampson, L Shamseer and S Vohra, for the SCRIBE Group (2016). The SCRIBE 2016: Explanation and elaboration, Archives of Scientific Psychology, 4(1):1

In 2009, a group of experts in the field of medical N-of-1 research met to find consensus on minimum reporting standards for intervention research designs involving a single patient. This effort resulted in the development of the CONSORT extension for N-of-1 trials (CENT 2015).

In that CENT meeting, a need for reporting guidelines for single case research designs used in the behavioural sciences was identified.

With the support of the CENT group, a Sydney-based working party embarked on the journey to develop reporting guidelines that specifically relate to the reporting of single-case experimental designs in the fields of clinical psychology, special education, neuropsychology, sport psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, social work, and other related disciplines. The development process was conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Moher 2010. For details, please read the SCRIBE 2016 statement from one of the above links. 

A 13-person Steering Committee was established, and a Sydney working party commenced the coordinating activities that were to follow.

In 2011, a Delphi survey was conducted with the aim to identify items which reflect the most important aspects of a single-case research report. Methodologists and content experts provided their opinions about the importance of each potential checklist item included in the Delphi survey. The items referred to different aspects contained in a single-subject research report, including the title and abstract, the introduction, the methods utilised, the outcomes of the study, and the discussion of findings.

The information provided during the Delphi exercise formed the basis for discussion during a consensus conference in Sydney in December 2011. At the consensus conference, items were refined and/or amalgamated in accordance with the Delphi results. At the end of the process, a final 26-item checklist was endorsed by the conference attendees.

The SCRIBE group of authors then produced the SCRIBE 2016 Statement and the Explanation and Elaboration (E&E) documents to accompany the Checklist items, with further input from the Steering Committee members.

The Editors of Archives of Scientific Psychology agreed to take on a co-ordinating role for the co-publication process, thus ensuring the wide dissemination of the SCRIBE 2016 across various disciplines within the behavioural sciences.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee comprises the Sydney executive and international experts in single case research and reporting guideline development.

Sydney Executive
  • Robyn Tate, Kolling Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney (convenor)
  • Michael Perdices, Royal North Shore Hospital and the University of Sydney
  • Skye McDonald, The University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Leanne Togher, The University of Sydney
  • Ulli Rosenkoetter, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Sydney
International Steering Committee Members
  • David H. Barlow, Boston University, USA
  • Robert Horner, University of Oregon, USA
  • Alan Kazdin, Yale University, USA
  • Thomas Kratochwill, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Margaret Sampson, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada
  • William Shadish…, University of California Merced, USA
  • Larissa Shamseer, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada
  • Sunita Vohra, University of Alberta, Canada
Funders

The SCRIBE 2016 Project was funded by Lifetime Care, New South Wales, Australia. We thank Lifetime Care for the generous support.

We also thank the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research (JWCRR), formerly the Rehabilitation Studies Unit, University of Sydney, for the infrastructure support provided for this project.

Support for researchers

We provide support to our researchers through funding opportunities, publications collection, academic profile creation, access to Research Supervisor Connect, as well as forums and workshops. 

We also provide dedicated support to the development of early career researchers (ECRs) who have been awarded their PhD in the last ten years. We aim to provide opportunities for these researchers to engage with fellow ECRs through networking and conference events; notification of ECR-targeted research and travel grant schemes and research development workshops; as well as tailored career advice.