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Professor Julian Higgins

Professor Julian Higgins

Professor Julian Higgins
BA(Hons), PhD

Professor of Evidence Synthesis

Area of research

Methods for systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Office 2.01c
Canynge Hall,
39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 3314529


Systematic review methods; assessing and adjusting for bias in primary studies; meta-epidemiological studies; meta-analysis methods including Bayesian approaches, network meta-analysis and analysing individual participant data.


Julian is Professor of Evidence Synthesis at the School of Social and Community Medicine, where he leads the Bristol Appraisal and Review of Research (BARR) group and heads the Centre for Research Synthesis and Decision Analysis (CReSyDA). He has wide-ranging research interests in the areas of systematic review and meta-analysis. He was previously Chair in Evidence Synthesis at the University of York, and Programme Leader at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge; before these roles he worked at the medical schools of Imperial College London and of University College London.

Among Julian’s research contributions are: a Bayesian approach to network meta-analysis; the I-squared statistic to quantify inconsistency across studies in a meta-analysis; simple prediction intervals for random-effects meta-analysis; a general framework for individual participant data meta-analysis; a library of prior distributions for between-study variation in a meta-analysis; and the development of risk-of-bias assessment tools for clinical trials and other study designs.

Julian is a past President of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology and a former member of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group. He is still an active contributor to Cochrane, having co-edited the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions since 2003. He is also co-author of the Wiley textbook Introduction to Meta-analysis. With a Google Scholar H-index over 85, Julian was named as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2015 and 2016. Julian is a multiple winner of the Thomas C Chalmers Award from Cochrane; received the Frederick Mosteller Award for distinctive contributions to systematic reviewing from the Campbell Collaboration in 2010, and was awarded the Olkin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement by the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology in 2016.



Julian's undergraduate teaching at the University of Bristol includes clinical epidemiology to 1st year medical students and systematic reviews to 4th year medical students.

Externally, Julian has taught by invitation in the UK, continental Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australasia. He currently co-leads the short course Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis within the School, he regularly runs a course on network meta-analysis at the Swiss Winter Epidemiology School, and offers workshops at annual Cochrane Colloquia and other Cochrane meetings.

Julian is Short Course Director for the programme of over 30 courses run by the School, with over 1000 participant places each academic year.


  • meta-analysis
  • systematic review
  • bias
  • multi-parameter evidence synthesis
  • Bayesian inference

Selected publications

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Recent publications

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