Inaugural Lecture Professor Neil Hawkins

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Thursday December 13th 2018 – Doors open at 3:00pm

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Professor N Hawkins Inaugural Lecture
Free + 0.00 fees

We are delighted to invite you to attend the inaugural lecture of Professor Neil Hawkins,

Institute of Health & Wellbeing

Title How to be a better critic: three principles for the reasonable synthesis of scientific evidence

Date Thursday 13 December

Time 3.30-4.30pm 

Venue Yudowitz seminar room, Wolfson Medical School Building

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception from 4.30-5.30pm in the atrium

Lecture outline

“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.”  Benjamin Disraeli 1860

I find my days are frequently clouded as I chance upon articles with attention-seeking titles such as “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, “Why all randomised controlled trials produce biased results” and “Why clinical trial outcomes fail to translate into benefits for patients”.  

However, before we sink into a relativistic miasma, we should remember that clinical science has successfully delivered effective treatments for conditions such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, Hepatitis C infection, and Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia (CML) and has identified behaviours which I believe can be reliably accepted as potentially injurious to health.

Drawing upon experiences from my own career — which traversed basic pharmacological research, clinical development, and epidemiological research before I became a “critic” in the realm of health technology assessment — I will humbly suggest three principles for the reasonable synthesis and criticism of hard-won scientific evidence.

These are:

1. It is ‘OK’ for individual study results to be ‘wrong

2. Lead with the question, not the study 

3. And, finally, no study is an island

I will also highlight methodological work currently being undertaken within our group to help apply these principles in practice.

About the Speaker

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.  Previously he was a Reader in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Vice President leading the global Health Economics practice at ICON plc.

He has published numerous articles in international journals including Health Economics, Medical Decision Making, Heart and Value in Health. In addition he has conducted workshops discussing methods for evidence synthesis and decision analytic modelling in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Saudi Arabia, and also taught on short courses entitled ‘Introduction to Statistics’, ‘Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’ and ‘Development of Conceptual Models’ at meetings of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR).



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Starts: Thursday, December 13th 2018 at 3:30pm
Doors open: 3:00pm
Ends: Thursday, December 13th 2018 at 4:30pm

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Timezone: Europe/London
Bookings close: December 13th 2018


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