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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 challenges the status quo and advances rigorous methods to improve health, well-being and fairness in Australia and overseas.

As its core, our research:

  • improves health outcomes, well-being 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.

Major research themes

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 around the world.

We conduct research across a broad range of health areas, which span across many of the the Faculty of Medicine and Health's major research themes, including:

Areas of research excellence

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 in chronic kidney disease and other health conditions.

Our clinical research program is based out 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. The clinical group of the Centre for Kidney Research (CKR) sits within the nephrology department of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Led by:

Our mission is to give all people the opportunity to access and choose the best health outcomes for themselves and their families. This means supporting health literacy, communication and patient/policy decision making.

Our research in this area ias 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.

Centres, intitutes and groups:

Led by:

In the past two decades, we have been exposed to more frequent and intense heatwaves and weather-related disasters, and it has been projected that they will continue to worsen. All these climate events place human health at risk, particularly our vulnerable populations who will be disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

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 and prepare and adapt as the global climate changes.

Centres, intitutes and groups:

We are home to Sydney Health Ethics, one of the largest bioethics centres in the world. 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.

We produce rigorous, critical and engaged ethics and social research, teach bioethics and qualitative research methods and work with communities locally, nationally and internationally to understand and address real world issues.

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.

  • Global Women’s and Children’s Health & Nutrition (WCHN) 
  • HAPPeN Trial

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.

Led by:

Including epidemiology, biostatistics, qualitative methods, preference assessment, policy research, health economics, ethical analysis, behavioural research and more.

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.  

Our groups

We conduct research on cancer etiology, prevention, early detection and survivorship, with particular focus on skin cancer and a strong emphasis on translational outcomes relevant to cancer control policy and clinical practice.

Our expertise is  in quantitative and qualitative research design, as well as observational, intervention and data linkage studies.  We have strong national and international multidisciplinary engagement including collaborations with clinicians, health economists, psychologists, sociologists, bioethicists, geneticists, laboratory scientists and others.

Learn more about the Prevention Research Group on their website.

Research contact

Our research node aims to inform adaptation programs that seek to protect and promote health in NSW, in the face of a changing climate.

We are a partnership between the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Health and the University of Sydney. Node researchers represent a wide range of disciplines including mental health, physiology, planning, environmental health and medical entomology and span a number of faculties and centres, including the Sydney Environment Institute, as well as other academic institutions. 

Current projects
  • Climate change, housing, and health: A scoping study on intersections between vulnerability, housing tenure, and adaptation responses to extreme heat
  • Building climate resilience through policy-engaged mental health research
  • Assessing novel surveillance technologies to detect exotic mosquitoes in northern NSW
  • Development of a conceptual framework for NSW health research priorities
Research contact

The Household Air Pollution and Perinatal & early Neonatal Mortality (HAPPeN) Trial is an international study that aims identify the impact of traditional stoves and fuels on stillbirth and early neonatal death in Bangladesh. The findings will make a major contribution to government policy that improves access to clean cooking technologies, opens up new LPG markets and contributes to the reducing of perinatal mortality in low resource countries.

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 in Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Research Triangle International (RTI) in the USA.

Chief Investigators

SALSA (Students As Lifestyle Activists) is a unique peer educational program that provides high school students with the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. SALSA is a partnership project with Rooty Hill High School, the Mt Druitt Medical Practitioners' Association, the University of Sydney and Western Sydney Local Health District. 

The SALSA program involves four lessons about food choices, physical activity, healthy lifestyle and individual & community action. These lessons are run during regular PDHPE classes. 

Learn more about the SALSA and Triple A programs on their website.

Academic Contacts

SOuRCe, established in 2002, is a conjoint multidisciplinary research unit of the Sydney Local health District and the University of Sydney. Our primary goal is to promote an evidence-based approach to improving clinical practice and achieving the best possible outcomes for patients.

This unit, with a focus on improving surgical outcomes, is the first of its kind in Australia and one of just a handful of such research units in the world, leading research in these areas:

  • the methodology of randomised controlled trials and alternate evaluative trial designs
  • outcomes assessment for surgical patients
  • health services research
  • economic analysis and quality of life studies in surgery.

All projects follow a multidisciplinary approach bringing together expertise in clinical science, epidemiology, health economics and health psychology. Projects frequently include students and trainee clinicians to provide research training opportunities.

Learn more about the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre on their website.

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