StaR Forum continues: what was covered in 2021 and what is on the radar for 2022?

Since the fall of 2020, StaR Child Health has hosted the StaR Forum, a monthly webinar series where speakers are given a platform to discuss innovative methodological work in child health research design, conduct, and reporting. Due to the ongoing pandemic, all StaR Forums to date have taken place virtually over Zoom and have been recorded and posted on StaR’s website. This has given us the unique opportunity to hear from speakers from around the world, while audience members across the globe have joined and enjoyed these seminars. As we enter 2022, let’s take a moment and look back at the various StaR Forums that we had in 2021.


Last year, we were joined by many fantastic speakers from the United Kingdom (London, Liverpool), Poland (Wrocław), Australia (Sydney), and Canada (Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton). Our 2021 speakers discussed their own work covering the following methodological topics in child health research:


1. The value of new methods for child health evidence synthesis: what exactly is a Prospective Meta-Analysis and what is an Individual Participant Analysis: experience from childhood obesity prevention research (link here)

2. What are these biostatistics’ innovations that are going to improve our designs and priorities for clinical trials? (link here)

3. Yes, we need a change in the methodological approach from null hypothesis significance testing to using Bayesian methods to estimate treatment effects in randomized controlled trials data analyses. How many child health trials actually report P value and how many report a Bayesian analysis? (link here)

4. Everybody is talking about Core Outcome Sets (COS) for clinical trials; they could be a solution for ongoing research waste in child health trials. A critical review of the why, what, how, and does it actually work? (link here)

5. In 2021 “adult” clinical research, PPI – Public and Patient Involvement - is the norm. But what is the best approach in involving children and young people in the design and delivery of paediatric clinical research? We now have 10+ years of experience and evidence (link here)

6. So, we need “large and simple” trials that will change child health practice: but how? Hear about the development of an international community for performing large RCTs and implementation science: a case study (link here)

7. Part 2 to the above regarding the need for “large and simple” trials that will change child health practice. Yes, we can study common in-hospital diseases efficiently – hear about another case study, advancing the evidence-base for paediatric in-hospital care (link here)

8. Will all that “research on research”, also known as meta-research, inform…. better research? An overview of how research practice could be changed (link here)

9. Trials are designed to reduce bias and spin. What is the actual evidence of independence and transparency in infant formula clinical trials? Is there evidence of selective outcomes reporting? A comprehensive examination of the problem using a meta-research evaluation (link here)


To inform the agenda for the next ten years of useful, efficient, translational, and impactful child health research, more Star Forums are scheduled in this upcoming year. In 2022, we will highlight the work of upcoming early to mid-career child health researchers. We already kicked off with a Forum about sustaining innovations in child health: once the evidence tells us that we need to set a new quality standard, how do we keep it alive? For the upcoming months, we have exciting talks planned around clinical research on cannabis with children, innovative use of clinical trial registry data, child health research lessons learned during COVID-19, and further innovations in biostatistical methods to design and prioritise child health clinical trials.


And so, we continue our international conversations, discussions, and knowledge sharing activities on various research methods areas. We encourage colleague-researchers and other diverse stakeholders to work together to improve study design, conduct, and reporting in pediatric clinical research. To get rid of research waste. To improve the impact of child health research. To improve health outcomes.


Please join us for the monthly StaR Forum! Upcoming webinars can be accessed here; past StaR Forum Webinars can be accessed here. If you are interested in presenting your work in this area, please contact us. All the best for 2022!

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