Evidence, Policy and Influence Collaborative (EPIC)

Ensuring policy decisions rest on unbiased pillars of evidence

We translate rigorous and unbiased evidence into clinical practice and health policy. Our work is being used to make new gold standards for synthesising evidence for a wide variety of health policy decisions worldwide.

Our researchers design and test rigorous interventions to promote research integrity and the uptake of research, particularly for medicines use, effectiveness and harm in the policy process. To achieve this, we organise our research into three key areas:

1. Bias in research

We use quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how funding source, conflicts of interest and social and cultural factors influence the design, conduct and publication of research. 

Read more about bias in research.

2. Evidence synthesis

Evidence synthesis methods allow us to use the full body of available scientific evidence to answer a focused research question. We aim to improve evidence synthesis methods and applicability across a range of disciplines. 

Read more about evidence synthesis.

3. Pharmaceutical policy

In order to improve the effective and safe use of medicines, we’re studying the process of innovation for noncommunicable disease medicines and assessing barriers and facilitators to the quality use of essential medicines. We are also seeking to understand the influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing by developing and testing interventions to improve medicines policy, supply, distribution, and use.

Read more about pharmaceutical policy.  

4. Fighting Truth Decay

Research on how to combat misinformation is widespread, but typically exists within disciplinary silos. The work examining how misinformation spreads, how it is supported by social institutions, and its effects on individuals are typically researched independently. 

Read more about truth decay

About us

We want to ensure that policy decisions rest on strong and unbiased pillars of evidence. Diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease are the result of a complex mix of biological, social, cultural, and other factors. Producing and promoting unbiased evidence and evidence-based decision-making in relation to these diseases is key to their prevention and treatment.

Our work explores what constitutes evidence and how we can reduce bias in the evidence base. Specific areas of interest are in the design, conduct and reporting of research and how we can communicate research findings in a clear and convincing way to a variety of stakeholders.  

We also promote the use of evidence in decision-making while taking into account the social, political and ethical contexts of decisions.   

Our ground-breaking work has exposed bias and conflicts of interest in health-related research. These include pharmaceutical, environmental, nutrition, and tobacco control research.

As a result of our work on the effects of sponsorship and other conflicts of interest on research, there’s been a growing recognition that selective reporting of research outcomes, as well as entire studies, can make it impossible to identify data for systematic reviews.

This work has led to international reforms related to transparency, accessibility of data and stricter standards for managing conflicts of interest.

Policymakers and regulators in several countries have now adopted improved methods for critiquing evidence, conducting systematic reviews and developing clinical practice and public health guidelines.

Our methodology for assessing bias also supports agencies such as the NHMRC and the World Health Organisation as they refine methods for developing public health (as opposed to clinical) guidelines.

We also work with diverse communities including journalists, lawyers, judges, and consumers to increase their skills in evaluating bias in research.

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