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Living meta-analysis and living guidelines in pregnancy loss prevention and management

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The University of Birmingham is the leading partner of Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, the largest miscarriage research centre in Europe. In collaboration with clinicians at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and around the country, we aim to save babies’ lives by turning scientific discoveries into important tests and treatments.

Clinical trials are an important component of the research we undertake but the results of a single trial in a defined population according to one defined regimen provides limited evidence on which to introduce a new treatment and or modify existing guidelines; rather evidence from multiple studies must be brought together. Meta-analysis is often needed to bring the evidence together. Occasionally, a network meta-analysis is needed to bring all the evidence into one coherent analysis and rank the various treatments in order of effectiveness and safety. This method utilizes both direct and indirect evidence to determine effect estimates making a much more efficient use of existing evidence.

Pregnancy loss prevention and management is a rapidly evolving area where an evidence synthesis is often out of date by the time it is published. Living network meta-analysis is the novel approach of updating this evidence in real-time. The living approach, with mutually reinforcing interaction between humans and machine to improve efficiency, can offer a robust real-time solution for literature acquisition and synthesis of new evidence.

This being in line with the innovative “living guideline” approach developed by the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, whereby literature surveillance and systematic prioritization guides the updating of selected high-priority recommendations on a continuous basis.


1. Carry out key systematic reviews in the area of miscarriage prevention and management.
2. Explore the development of an artificial-intelligence supported literature identification program to identify emerging literature on prevention and management of miscarriage trials. A robust living literature identification platform is necessary to remain up to date with the evidence.
3. Explore the development of a semi-automated data-extraction and synthesis platform to assist with data extraction and synthesis of prevention and management of miscarriage trials. This objective combines human effort and machine automation in mutually reinforcing ways and breaks new grounds in automation of systematic reviews.
4. Explore the integration of the living approach with the ‘WHO living guidelines programme’.

Person Specification
The position is a clinical PhD opportunity suitable for a specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology.
Applicants will be based in the University of Birmingham Academic Department at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
The position is for a 3-year fully-funded PhD Studentship starting in September 2019.

How to apply:

Informal enquiries should be directed to:
Professor Arri Coomarasamy, Professor of Gynaecology and Director of Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research

To be considered for this studentship, please send the following documents to Viktorija Ziabliceva ():

• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

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