HEDS Newsletter

Welcome - Winter 2019


A word from the Director - “Hej Copenhagen!” (or wherever you may be reading this…)

This is always a hectic time of year in any university; but we’re proud to be sending a substantial contingent of our very own “northern lights” to represent HEDS at the ISPOR conference in Denmark.

If you’re there, we hope you’ll get a chance to meet our colleagues and hear about their world-leading research.

Perhaps now more than ever, The University Of Sheffield wants to remind the world that #WeAreInternational and we fully intend to continue playing a key role in research networks across Europe and beyond.

Elsewhere in this issue you can find out about our new ScHARR Outcomes team; some prestigious new contracts we’ll be working on; and an impressive position for our University in the QS rankings 2020; as well as a spotlight on another of our fabulous PhDs and a host of exciting new courses from ScHARR Professional Learning, booking soon.

In this issue


This year’s ISPOR Europe conference is taking place in Copenhagen (2-6 November 2019) and as usual, HEDS staff including Professor John Brazier will be representing our work at ScHARR.

  • Professor John Brazier will be delivering a new short course entitled 'Health State Utility (HSU) Recommendations for Identification and Use of HSU Data in Cost-Effective Modelling' on Saturday 2nd November
  • Professor Allan Wailoo and Dr. Monica Hernandez who will be delivering a short course on Mapping to Estimate Utility Values from Non-Preference-Based Outcome Measures (Sunday 3rd November)
  • Dr. Praveen Thokala will be presenting a “How-to guide” on developing an ISPOR Good practices task force (Monday 4th November)
  • Dr Donna Rowen will be presenting an issues panel entitled ‘Valuing Health in Children – Where are we now?’
  • Professor Paul Tappenden will be participating in the panel “Reduction of bias or a burden? The use of individual patient models for submission to HTA authorities”
  • Meanwhile, Dr Olena Mandrik will be chairing an ISPOR Task Force and hosting a workshop on ‘Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews with Cost and Cost-Effectiveness Outcomes’, as well as presenting a poster

Other HEDS poster presentations to look out for include Professor Alan BrennanLaura FlightTushar Srivastava and Ben Kearns, all of whom will be in attendance.

Finally, come and say hello to Vanessa Wright and the ScHARR Knowledge Exchange Team - we're at booth space C3-056

Find out more

Launch of ScHARR Outcomes

ScHARR Outcomes is a new interdisciplinary group of leading international researchers in the area of measuring and valuing health, quality of life and wellbeing, particularly for use in health technology assessment.

We specialise in the development of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) that measure the health and/or quality of life of people for particular conditions or populations, and valuation or analysis of existing measures to enable them to be used to generate QALYs (quality adjusted life years) to inform health technology assessment.

Visit ScHARR outcomes

Best Oral Presentation award

Dr Marrissa Martyn-St James wins Best Oral Presentation Award at HTAi 2019 

Congratulations to our own Dr Marrissa Martyn-St James who won the Best Oral Presentation Award at the Health Technology Assessment 2019 Annual Meeting in Cologne, Germany, 15-19 June.

Marrissa won for her presentation ‘Delphi consensus reached to produce a decision tool for SelecTing Approaches for Rapid Reviews (STARR)’, which described the development of a decision tool for adapting review processes through a modified Delphi approach.

Rapid reviews are of increasing importance within evidence synthesis and HTA, and there are many rapid review methods available but little guidance as to which methods are appropriate.

The STARR tool was initially developed through the team members’ own work on rapid reviews and roll out of STARR is now planned to assist others in the planning of rapid reviews. 

The study’s co-authors are Abdullah Pandor, Eva Kaltenthaler, Ruth Wong, Katy Cooper, Munya DimairoAlicia O’CathainFiona CampbellAndrew Booth. The full paper was published in the October issue of Journal of Epidemiology, vol.114, p.22-29. 

PhD studentship

PhD studentship in causal inference for the analysis of cancer registry data

Applications invited for a fully funded studentship in Epidemiology, Biostatistics or Health Economics, supervisor Dr Nick Latimer. The position is jointly funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) and BresMed Health Solutions Ltd. Application deadline 30/11/19. To start 01/09/20 (latest)

New PhD programme

£5 million for new PhD programme in public health economics

A £5.24 million investment by the Wellcome Trust will fund 35 scholars to carry out ground-breaking public health research on a new PhD programme led by ScHARR.

ScHARR’s Doctoral Training Centre will provide the opportunity for graduates from a variety of disciplines to specialise in public health economics research and the new programme will widen access to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to study at postgraduate level.

The programme will focus on how health policies, strategies and systems can best be coordinated. Students will research which policies and interventions can best tackle the key causes of ill health and health inequalities, for example health-risk behaviours and the social determinants of ill health.

Petra Meier, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Doctoral Training Centre said:

“Chronic diseases are rapidly overtaking infectious diseases as the key causes of disability and death, and as a global priority we need to know which prevention strategies work best. So it’s vital that we train a new generation of researchers who will be at the forefront of promoting public health.”

The funding award from the Wellcome Trust recognises ScHARR as a provider of excellence when it comes to public health and economics research.

Professor Meier added: “We will be recruiting the brightest candidates, opening up a route to postgraduate research training for those who may have felt unable to further their academic career this far before.

“We strongly encourage those from areas where few people study for PhDs, or who have circumstances that could be barriers to doctoral research, such as caring responsibilities or a disability, to look out for our pre-application question and answer sessions.’’

The new programme will start in autumn 2020 and information is available on the ScHARR website.

Sheffield ranked within top 100 universities

University of Sheffield ranked within top 100 universities in QS World University Rankings

The University of Sheffield has been ranked within the top 100 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2020, reaffirming its position as a leading global university for teaching and research.

The global QS rankings - the world’s most-consulted independent university evaluation - are based on the expert opinions of 94,672 academics and 44,884 employers, and the analysis of over 13 million research papers and 93 million citations.

The rankings – now in their 16th year - place the University 13th best in the UK, 78th in the world and number 1 in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

In addition to research impact, the rankings also measure academic standards, employability records, research quality, teaching capacity and internationalisation (where Sheffield was particularly outstanding, demonstrating its diverse community).

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Koen Lamberts, said: “We’re delighted that the University of Sheffield has received recognition for being a world-leading university. Our University has been committed to research and teaching which improves lives, solves global problems and leads the way in influencing policy and I’m grateful to all those whose hard work has made this possible.”

Recent publications

Recent publications by HEDS staff

Professor Aki Tsuchiya has led research which questions the validity of EQ-5D (-5L) classification system used globally to measure health status in surveys, clinical studies and evaluation of healthcare service delivery - Manipulating the 5 dimensions of the EuroQol instrument: The Effects on Self-Reporting Actual Health and Valuing Hypothetical Health States, Tsuchiya, A. et al. , Medical Decision Making, Vol. 39, (4) p.379-37

Anthea Sutton and HEDS colleagues have published a new review of search approaches for different types of review - Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements, Sutton et al. Health Information and Libraries Journal, Vol. 36 (3) p.202-222

HEDS Research Fellow Sue Harnan has led a study with significant implications for the treatment of breast cancer - Tumour profiling tests to guide adjuvant chemotherapy decisions in early breast cancer: a systematic review and economic analysis, Harnan, S. et al. Health Technology Assessment, Vol. 23 (30)

News in brief

'Specialist Provider' status for ScHARR Knowledge Exchange

Following a competitive bidding process, our newly rebranded ScHARR Knowledge Exchange service (formerly known as Innovation & Knowledge Transfer) has secured specialist provider status on the Novartis global HEOR Framework (commencing July 2019) and the Public Health England (PHE) Screening Framework.

Getting it right with ScHARR information resources

ScHARR’s expert information specialists have been commissioned to produce a series of rapid evidence bibliographies for NHS RightCare over 12 months.

These bibliographies draw on the best available evidence to inform decision makers by providing answers to key questions about patient care, in the form of toolkits.

The first four bibliographies, looking at heart failure, were delivered in August 2019, with more to follow. Team leader Anthea Sutton told us "Our collaboration with NHS RightCare is particularly fulfilling as it will directly impact on patient care in the NHS".

New director of L&T for HEDS

Angie Rees recently replaced Claire Beecroft as director of learning and teaching for the HEDS section. Angie, who is course director for ScHARR’s online Masters in Public Health, told us: “I’m genuinely thrilled to take on this role at a time when teaching activity is at the forefront of ScHARR's continued development and advancement'. HEDS is a lively centre of teaching in ScHARR and I'm fortunate to work with some innovative and committed teaching staff'. Meanwhile, Claire has moved on to the position of deputy director of L&T for the School.

NIHR fellowship success

Congratulations to HEDS’ Tushar Srivastava who has won a prestigious NIHR pre-doctoral fellowship.The award provides an opportunity for training and development as Tushar develops his research into current methodologies for estimating transition probabilities (TPs) in state transition models and the potential role of causal inference (CI) in this context.

Regular items

Upcoming short courses

Further details and booking information can be found on our website.

Dates Course Title Course Content
3 December 2019 Introduction to Stata

This course is aimed at individuals with little or no experience in Stata (or those who have only used the drop-down system within Stata and wish to transition to the coding language).

The delivery of this course is through live demonstration, with intermittent practical activities throughout the course to reinforce understanding. A basic knowledge of statistics is advantageous, but not essential.

11 February 2020 How to Quickly Synthesise Research

This course aims to provide participants with the skills required to be able to undertake simulation projects to a professional level. It will be both theoretically-based and practically-based, with the use of the Simul8 software package.

It will cover the use of discrete-event simulation to assess the impact of alternative options within a local system with resource constraints and the use of patient-level simulation for health economic modelling.

20 April 2020 Designing Qualitative Research for Randomised Controlled Trials

Researchers often use qualitative research before or during randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of complex interventions. We will focus on designing the qualitative research, paying attention to writing relevant parts of a grant application.

We will take people through the key issues to consider, drawing on real world examples from our own practice as lead investigators, clinical triallists, qualitative researchers, and Research Design Service advisors.

We will NOT focus on how to do qualitative research in general or how to do RCTs.

If you would like to make a booking please contact the Short Course Unit at scharr-scu@sheffield.ac.uk, tel: +44 114 222 2968 or visit the Short Course webpage for more information.

MSc courses

Applications for HEDS post-graduate courses are currently welcomed. 

MSc International Health Technology Assessment, Pricing and Reimbursement

This online, distant learning course offers the entire range of knowledge and skills needed by those developing health technologies for market, involved in commissioning, or evaluating health technologies. It is aimed at those working in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, or diagnostics industries.

MSc Health Economics and Decision Modelling

This MSc is the only programme in the UK dedicated to the practical application of mathematical modelling to inform healthcare decision making. The course is ideal for students wishing to pursue a career as a professional health economist/modeller

MSc Economics & Health Economics

This MSc programme is run jointly with the Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield. It is aimed at students who wish to pursue careers as applied economists in the health sector or who wish to continue with academic research

Meet our PGRs: Susan Hampshaw

Title of PhD: What happens to NICE public health guidelines after publication in terms of how they are viewed and used by local government officers? – A realist inquiry

I am in the final year of my PhD in HEDS and I am also part of the Public Health section within ScHARR. I have been studying part time and work for Doncaster Council as Public Health Principal.

I lead work in Doncaster to tackle health inequalities and building capacity to better use research in policy and practice.

I have a long-standing interest in how to bridge the gap between research and practice, which is how I came to my PhD study.

The topic of my PhD is exploring the decision-making context of local government, in particular how NICE public health guidelines are used. My study is a realist inquiry and identified, tested and refined theories to explain how NICE guidance is received, and why this reception occurs. The focus of realist inquiry is explanation.

Three hypotheses were targeted; two on the nature of decision-making and one on the uniqueness of individual authorities. These hypotheses were tested by methodically reviewing the literature using theory-guided searches, data extraction and synthesis, and by primary data collection during fieldwork in three councils.

I have been fortunate to have truly brilliant PhD supervisors – Dr. Andrew BoothDr. Annette Haywood and Jo Cooke - who recognise my experience (and the tacit knowledge therein) and also understand the ebbs and flows of my commitments, and so have been tolerant yet still ensured that I have made progress
Publications from my PhD have included BMC Health Services Research, Evidence and Policy, Social Science & Medicine, and International Journal of Health Policy and Management.


HEDS newsletter winter 2019 (PDF, 1.47MB)

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