This three-day course is designed for clinicians, health service researchers and other healthcare professionals who are involved in systematic reviews and meta-analyses as a piece of independent work or an integral part of a health technology assessment (HTA).

Here is a short video from one of our 2018 participants

HEHTA video thumbnail

About the course




The Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment (HEHTA) Research Group at the University of Glasgow is running a three-day workshop on the systematic review and synthesis of evidence regarding treatment effects.  Now in its 9th edition, this course is continually being updated to include hot topics in the area.  Course participants will gain hands-on experience of conducting pairwise and network meta-analyses, and an understanding of contextual issues through the analysis of case-studies.

The course is holistic in covering the whole process from the strategic analysis of the decision problem, through conduct of systematic reviews, to synthesis and interpretation of results.  The faculty, which includes staff from reimbursement agencies and members of appraisal committees, have extensive practical experience of conducting synthesis and applying the results to real life problems. 

Who is the course aimed at?

The course is designed for health technology assessment (HTA) practitioners, such as health economists, health service researchers and healthcare professionals who are interested in learning the key concepts involved in the design and undertaking of evidence synthesis in the context of HTA

What are the learning objectives?
At the end of the course, through problem-based learning, participants should be able to:
·       Design and conduct high quality systematic reviews
·       Conduct appropriate pairwise and network meta-analyses using Stata and/or R
·       Explore bias and heterogeneity
·       Gain an awareness of the practical challenges in evidence synthesis

What will the course cover?
This course will explore the principles and the practice of conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis through a mixture of presentations from members of the faculty, together with hands-on computer-based exercises using Stata and/or R, and discussions of case studies.

Course content

Day 1 – Basic principles

  • Asking the right question and setting the scope
  • Searching for evidence – how to search, and when to stop       
  • The value of non-randomised evidence
  • Pooling of data in the context of pairwise and network meta-analysis

 Day 2 – Identifying and dealing with heterogeneity

  • Critical appraisal – risk of bias, consideration of internal and external validity
  • Approaches to dealing with heterogeneity and potential bias (including meta- and IPD regression, matched adjusted indirect comparisons, and simulated treatment comparisons)

 Day 3 – Complex challenges

  • Further network meta-analysis including shared parameter models and time-to-event (survival data)
  • Sequential meta-analysis
  • Handling single arm studies
  • Pooling of observational data

Participants should have a knowledge of basic statistics and study design.

 Further details and booking information are available from the HEHTA administrator: ihw-hehta@glasgow.ac.uk 

Course dates

Dates to be confirmed

Contact HEHTA Administrators  for further information if required. 


Professor Olivia Wu

Olivia is the Director of the HEHTA Research Unit, where she also leads the Evidence Synthesis Research Programme. She has a BSc(Hons) in Pharmacy, MSc in Clinical Pharmacology and PhD in Public Health and Health Economics.

Professor Neil Hawkins

Neil holds a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Bristol, Masters Degrees in Health Economics (York) and Applied Statistics (Sheffield), and also an MBA from the University of Oxford.  He has over 17 years experience in the field of HTA and has participated in over thirty health technology assessments covering a wide variety of clinical areas.  

Karen Macpherson

Following a degree in chemistry and postgraduate studies in information science, Karen started her career as an information scientist, working firstly for Dundee University before taking up a role with a scientific government agency.  She then moved to the NHS where she worked as an information scientist for a Health Technology Assessment programme, before completing a Masters in Public Health at Glasgow University and moving to a post of Health Services Researcher, delivering systematic reviews to support the provision of advice on healthcare technologies to NHS Scotland. In 2012 she was appointed as Lead Health Services Researcher for Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), overseeing a team delivering evidence review and research support to the organisation.  During her time at HIS she has undertaken peer review for the NIHR HTA programme, acted as an external advisor for the NICE Evidence Accreditation programme, and been involved in various international projects with European and International HTA networks. 

Lorna Thomson

Lorna has an academic background in biological sciences, with a particular interest in human nutrition and how it relates to health inequalities. She gained experience of public health needs assessment and evaluation of voluntary sector initiatives at the Centre for Health and Social research in Fife before joining the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) in 2003, where she facilitated the development of more than 15 evidence based guidelines covering both physical and mental health topics.  Lorna is presently a Health Services Researcher with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and works mainly on rapid reviews to support the work of the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG).

Registration and fees

To enquire or to register, please click here.