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Professor Julian Higgins

Professor Julian Higgins

Professor Julian Higgins
BA(Hons), PhD

Professor of Evidence Synthesis

Area of research

Methods and application of systematic reviews, meta-analysis and other types of research synthesis

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 in the Population Health Sciences department of Bristol Medical School, where he leads the Bristol Appraisal and Review of Research (BARR) group. He was previously Chair in Evidence Synthesis at the University of York, and Programme Leader at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge, where he was also head of the UK Human Genome Epidemiology Network Coordinating Centre. Before these roles he worked at the medical schools of Imperial College London and of University College London.

Wide-ranging research interests span all areas of systematic review and meta-analysis. Julian has co-authored more than 60 applied systematic reviews and over 150 papers on methodology. Among his methods 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 risk-of-bias assessment tools for clinical trials and other study designs. He was a member of the development team for the PRISMA reporting guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and co-led development of the STREGA reporting guideline for genetic association studies.

Julian was a founding trustee and is a past President of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology. He has long been an active contributor to Cochrane, and is a former member of Cochrane's Steering Group, Editorial Board and Scientific Committee. He is currently co-convenor of the Cochrane Bias Methods Group and has co-edited the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions since 2003. He is also co-author of the Wiley 2009 textbook Introduction to Meta-analysis. He has more than 300 publications, which have attracted more than 200,000 citations. With a Google Scholar H-index over 120, Julian has been named as a Highly Cited Researcher each year since 2015.

Julian is a multiple winner of the Thomas C Chalmers Award from Cochrane. He was awarded the Frederick Mosteller Award for distinctive contributions to systematic reviewing from the Campbell Collaboration in 2010; the Ingram Olkin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement by the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology in 2016; and the Will Shadish Extraordinary Service Award by the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology in 2019. He was appointed an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2018.



Julian teaches on the University of Bristol's medical degree, on its MSc in Public Health and on its MSc in Epidemiology. He also supervises PhD 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 courses at the Swiss Winter Epidemiology School, and regularly offers workshops at annual Cochrane Colloquia and other Cochrane meetings.


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

Selected publications

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View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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