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Facts & figures

Our research

  • Rated at highest level (5) Excellence in Research Australia rankings
  • Top-cited researchers Professor Adrian Bauman Highly Cited Researcher list for 2018

Research at Sydney School of Public Health

Dare to challenge the status quo
Our research aims to improve health, wellbeing and fairness and boost healthcare outcomes on the global stage. We produce research that is evidence-based, relevant and impactful across numerous research areas.

About public health research

At the Sydney School of Public Health we are passionate about research that creates knowledge and fosters innovation to improve population health. Our research is evidence-based, relevant and impactful, and focuses on new discovery as well as translating existing knowledge into improved healthcare outcomes. 

We are a leader in a number of research areas including health policyhealth promotion and prevention of disease and disabilities, among others. Our internationally-recognised researchers are motivated by the need to improve health globally, and have interests that embrace the ethical, social, economic and environmental causes of health.

Continuing a century as the leading public health research institution in Australia, our research aims to challenge the status quo and advances rigorous methods to improve health, wellbeing and fairness in Australia and overseas. As its core, our research:

  • improves health outcomes, wellbeing and society
  • supports decision making, policy and practice through evidence and advocacy
  • employs rigorous and innovative methods
  • integrates equity, ethics and sustainability
  • engages locally and globally.

Areas of research excellence

The Sydney School of Public Health is home to some of the most highly cited researchers in the world, including many whose research informs policy and practice in Australia and internationally. We conduct research across a broad range of health areas, which span across many of the Faculty of Medicine and Health's major research themes, and beyond.

We conduct and implement high-priority research in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of people with, or at risk of, chronic kidney disease and related conditions. Our research and teaching expertise spans epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, qualitative methods, and evidence synthesis; which we apply to chronic kidney disease and other health conditions.

Centre for Kidney Research

Our clinical research program at the Centre for Kidney Research (CKR) sits within the nephrology department of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and conducts broad-ranging research to improve outcomes in children and adults with, or at risk of, kidney disease.

Key researchers

Our research in this area is aimed at understanding how we can support health consumers to make better health decisions, with the aim of influencing policy and achieving better health outcomes for all. This means supporting health literacy, communication and patient/policy decision making.

Sydney Health Literacy Lab

The Sydney Health Literacy Lab aims to develop and test interventions and practical solutions to improve health literacy in a range of community and healthcare settings. Our goal is to support people make better health decisions and achieve better health outcomes, no matter their education, age or cultural background.

Key researchers

Our research in environment and climate investigates the intersection between human health, housing policy and climate change, so that we can better understand how climate change will impact our communities, particularly vulnerable populations, and prepare and adapt as the global climate changes.

Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration

The Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration (ARHRC) is a partnership of four rural health research centres and associated health services that has been working to build rural health research and research capacity in NSW since 2002. The collaboration is administered by the University of Sydney, and funded by the NSW Population Health and Health Services Research Support Program.

Climate Change, Human Health and Social Impacts Research Node

The Climate Change, Human Health and Social Impacts Node is a partnership between the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Health and The University of Sydney. The goal of the research node is to inform adaptation programs that seek to protect and promote health in NSW, in the face of a changing climate.

Planetary Health Platform

The Planetary Health Platform builds on our commitment to multidisciplinary research and education. It drives research, education and leadership on the relationships between ecological, economic and social change and the health and wellbeing of future generations.

Key researchers

Our research addresses ethical issues as they relate to a wide range of topics including public health, clinical, research, animal, biotechnology (including genetic technology and genomics), drug policy and development. Our mission is to achieve a positive social impact by engaging in academic and public conversations about the ethics of health and wellbeing.

Sydney Health Ethics

Sydney Health Ethics, one of the largest bioethics centres in the world, conducts research and teaching in bioethics and health-related social science using multidisciplinary methods. Our mission is to achieve a positive social impact by engaging in academic and public conversations about the ethics of health and wellbeing.

Key researchers

We conduct public health and nutrition research on a global scale through a number of international studies and collaborations. We aim to create research that can be translated into government and industry policy to improve health and nutrition of communities around the world.

HAPPeN Trial

The Household Air Pollution and Perinatal & early Neonatal Mortality (HAPPeN) Trial is an international study that aims to identify the impact of traditional stoves and fuels on stillbirth and early neonatal death in Bangladesh. The study is being conducted by an experienced and multi-disciplinary team of recognised research leaders from the University of Sydney, the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research and Research Triangle International.

Key researchers

Our research in primary healthcare is focused on strengthening the delivery of primary services through the study of general practice and general practitioners (GPs), including the characteristics and frequency of GP visits and GP-patient interactions. Our research in this area has delivered over 100 bespoke reports to inform and support key business decisions and government.

Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH)

Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) is the most valid, reliable general practitioner (GP) dataset in Australia, with almost 1.8 million GP-patient encounter records from 1998 to 2016. BEACH data is used for analysis and reporting on the content of GP-patient encounters.

Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe)

The Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe) is a multidisciplinary, not for profit, academic research unit of Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney dedicated to the advancement of evidence-based surgical practice through the conduct of outcomes-oriented surgical research.

Key researchers

The population ageing research program at the Sydney School of Public Health brings together a multidisciplinary team to improve the quality of life for older people. Much of the research is based on data collected in the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP), which involved 1700 men aged 70 years and older.

Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR)

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is producing world-class research on population ageing. The centre is a unique collaboration bringing together academia, government and industry to address one of the major social challenges of the 21st century.

The Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP)

The Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP), collected data from 1700 men aged 70 years and older. We are currently working to extend this program to examine the psychosocial and economic aspects of an ageing workforce, retirement and old age.

Key researchers

Musculoskeletal health research in the Sydney School of Public Health is conducted through the Institute for Musculoskeletal HealthThe insitute focuses on research that delivers a real-world impact with the direct involvement of the public.

Institute of Musculoskeletal Health

The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health brings together patients and clinicians with world-leading musculoskeletal health researchers from the Sydney School of Public Health. Our partnership between the Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney provides a platform to strengthen clinician-researcher alliances, and improve the translation of the University's research into the community.

Key researchers

This area aims to explore and identify the way we can prevent ill-health and promote wellbeing in society across a range of health areas. Through research, we aim to not only reduce the burden of disease on society, but also create research-informed change in practice, management and policy.

Our research is multidisciplinary and draws from a range of skill sets both within the University and other research institutions. This theme covers research in:

  • cancer epidemiology and prevention
  • complex program evaluation
  • digital technologies and health
  • disease prevention
  • epidemiology
  • health promotion and public health interventions
  • implementation science
  • nutrition
  • obesity prevention
  • physical activity and sport
  • primary prevention
  • skin cancer
  • systems and solutions
  • tobacco control.
Australian Prevention Partnership Centre
The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre is a national collaboration of researchers, policy makers and practitioners who are working together to identify new ways of understanding what works and what doesn’t to prevent lifestyle-related chronic health problems in Australia.
Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group

The Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group contributes to reducing the burden of cancer by conducting research on cancer etiology, prevention, early detection and survivorship. We place a strong emphasis on translational outcomes relevant to cancer control policy and clinical practice, with a particular focus on skin cancer.

Research contact: Associate Professor Anne Cust

Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH) Group

The Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH) group aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related behaviours in the first five years of life, and their future impact. The group brings together a diverse team of experts from around Australia and the world to bridge the current gaps in research, practice and policy and help improve the health outcomes for children as they grow into adulthood.

Prevention Research Collaboration

The Prevention Research Collaboration (PRC) is a specialised research group with expertise in public health nutrition, physical activity, obesity prevention, epidemiology and health promotion research, as well as other aspects of primary prevention. The PRC has an applied research focus and actively facilitates the application and translation of research knowledge into policy and practice.

SALSA and Triple A Education Programs

The Students As Lifestyle Activists (SALSA) and Adolescent Asthma Action (Triple A) Education Programs are peer-led prevention programs dedicated to educating high school students with the knowledge and skills to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle and improve the wellbeing of students with asthma.

Research contact: Associate Professor Smita Shah

WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity

The World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity (CCPANO) aims to increase the role of prevention in reducing non-communicable diseases including obesity, diabetes, chronic lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

Key researchers

We aim to build sustainable healthcare systems through policy change and practical innovation. Our team includes experts in health policy and researchers who examine the ways to prevent overdiagnosis and overtreatment of disease.

Menzies Centre for Health Policy

The Menzies Centre for Health Policy conducts health policy research, analysis, advice and education. We focus on improving public health outcomes through policy innovation and practical implementation. The centre encourages informed debate about how Australians can influence health policy to ensure policies that are able to deliver safe, high-quality health care that is sustainable in the long term.

Wiser Healthcare

Wiser Healthcare is a research collaboration for reducing overdiagnosis and overtreatment in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders, with a particular focus on overdiagnosis caused by imaging (like CT scans and MRI scans), testing biomarkers (for example, blood tests like the Prostate Specific Antigen test), and genetic tests.

Key researchers