Bias in research

Producing unbiased evidence and promoting evidence-based decision making is particularly important for the prevention and treatment of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease because they are the result of a complex mix of biological, social, cultural and other factors. Research projects in this node will use quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how these factors influence the design, conduct and publication of research.

One of the node’s first projects will be to establish a database of study characteristics for nutrition and exercise research. Our database will then be used to examine the association of specific study characteristics, risks of bias and study outcomes. It will be developed with the study objectives of node development team members in mind, avoiding duplication of effort across team members and maximising the use of data for the team. Eventually the program and database will expand to include research on other types of non-pharmaceutical interventions. We will also examine biases in the development of research agendas.

In an effort to improve the use of high-quality evidence in policy making, we will also study biases in the application of science to health policy. While biases in the design, conduct and reporting of research on pharmaceuticals and tobacco have been rigorously studied in the last decade, less attention has been paid to these biases in the areas of obesity research, particularly research related to nutrition or exercise interventions. Understanding the sources of bias is important for evaluating evidence that will be used by decision makers, and for developing policies to reduce bias.

In addition to the research component, the program will support a training program and dissemination unit. We will develop a training program for scholars and academics with an interest in studying corporate and other influences on science.

Project node leader

Professor Lisa Bero

Collaboration team



Dr Manos Stamatakis

Health Sciences; Charles Perkins Centre

Dr Anna Stoklosa

NHMRC Clinical Trials Research Center

Professor Nicholas Buckley

Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences

Professor Paul Griffiths

Arts and Social Sciences; Charles Perkins Centre

Associate Professor Teresa Davis

Business School

Professor Adrian Bauman

Public Health, School of Public Health

Professor Nicolas Rasmussen

Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales

Associate Professor Barbara Mintzes

Pharmacology and Public Health, University of British Columbia

Dr Daniele Mandrioli

Toxicology, Johns Hopkins University

Professor Joel Lexchin

Health Policy and Management, York University

(Charles Perkins Centre January 2015 – May 2015)

Associate Professor Sallie Pearson

Pharmacy; School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School

Professor Louise Baur

Sydney School of Public Health

Professor Merrilyn Walton

Sydney School of Public Health

Professor Mark Lawrence

Faculty of Health, Deakin University

Dr Gyorgy Scrinis

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne

Dr Joanna Diong

School of Medical Sciences

Dr Wendy Lipworth

Centre for Values, Ethics & Law in Medicine (VELiM); School of Public Health

Dr Jon Jureidini

University of Adelaide
Dr Tracey Laba The George Institute
Professor David Raubenheimer Leonard P Ullmann Chair in Nutritional Ecology
Dr Kieron Rooney Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Angela Webster Sydney School of Public Health
Professor Margaret Allman-Farnelli School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Lisa Askie Sydney Medical School, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre
 Dr Quinn Grundy Faculty of Pharmacy/Charles Perkins Centre
Professor Tim Gill Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders
Dr Anne Springer

College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan

Dr Jonathan Penm

Faculty of Pharmacy

Gabriel Axel Montes

Hunter Medical Research institute, University of Newcastle