Biostatistics Unit

The Deakin Biostatistics Unit (DBSU) provides research support to the Faculty of Health’s research programs, and also collaborates with external providers.

Our aims

The DBSU provides open-access consulting and collaborative support to staff and HDR students in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University. We also consult and work with other Deakin researchers and external partners.

We aim to:

  • Improve the quality, efficiency and impact of Faculty of Health research through the provision of biostatistical advice, consultancy and collaboration at all stages of the research process. We assist with concept development, grant application, study design, protocol development, planning, data collection, analysis and reporting.
  • Co-supervise higher degree by research (HDR) students in the Faculty of Health.
  • Provide a focal point for biostatistics and nurture a network of quantitative researchers in the Faculty of Health.
  • Conduct research on biostatistical methods that are required for faculty research projects.
  • Foster mutually beneficial relationships between the faculty and external stakeholders such as clinicians, health services, policymakers and the community.

Our services

Members of the DBSU offer biostatistical advice to Faculty of Health staff and HDR students via scheduled appointments. The DBSU biostatisticians can provide assistance with the following:

  • Study design – we assist with the setting up of a research project by collaborating on the formulation of aims and testable hypotheses, selection of endpoints (measurables), creation of experimental plans – including randomisations – design of sampling schemes, power and sample size calculations and protocol writing.
  • Grant preparation – we take responsibility for the statistical methods section of research proposals, including power and sample size calculations and, if required, a formal statistical analysis plan (SAP). We ensure that the study design has alignment of the objectives, endpoints and statistical methods.
  • Statistical data analysis – we can advise on, or take full responsibility for, this important activity.
  • Presentation of results and manuscript preparation – the DBSU can assist you with the preparation of results for presentation to your research community. This presentation could be a doctoral dissertation, a conference or a manuscript, and we can:
  • assist with the write-up of statistical methods and results
  • review a draft manuscript before submission
  • respond to comments from reviewers of the manuscript.
  • Biostatistical appraisal of protocols and manuscripts authored by others.
  • Research into new or specialised biostatistical methods required for specific faculty projects and programs.

At this stage, the DBSU does not offer assistance with database design and construction, or data management (e.g. data entry, data validation and cleaning, data linkage or data extraction). However, we can provide high-level advice on aspects of database design and edit checks.

Accessing our services

While the unit was formed primarily to support Deakin University Faculty of Health research programs, it also consults and collaborates with Deakin researchers outside of the Faculty of Health and external partners, provided the work is aligned with the faculty's overall mission.

Deakin researchers outside the Faculty of Health

Deakin researchers outside of the Faculty of Health should direct requests to the Director of the DBSU and will be considered on a case-by-case basis – the availability of resources, relevance to the overall mission of the Faculty of Health and recovery of salary and associated on-costs will be considerations.

External partners

The DBSU can provide biostatistical support for projects initiated and sponsored by external clients subject to the availability of resources and provided the projects are aligned with the overall mission of the Faculty of Health. Arrangements will be managed by Deakin Research Commercial but, in the first instance, clients should contact the Director of the DBSU to discuss the proposed project.

Biostatistical consultation

To request a biostatistical consultation, please complete and submit the webform.

If you have already contacted one of the members of the Biostatistics Unit please note this in your request.

If you are a HDR student, your first meeting with a DBSU biostatistician must also include your supervisor.

Other points to consider are:

Request your consultation early

We suggest you request your consultation well in advance of your deadlines so that we have enough time to provide useful advice.

Early consultation with an experienced biostatistician will help to ensure that the study design and execution enable the aims of the research project to be addressed. Experienced biostatisticians are skilled at checking the alignment of objectives with measurable endpoints and with nominated statistical methods during the development of a proposal and a protocol. 

Obtaining biostatistical input into the study design is especially important if you are applying for competitive research finding as it will help to strengthen the scientific quality of the proposal. Including a named biostatistician in the research team will also demonstrate to the funding agency that the faculty has the required research 'infrastructure' to support the proposed project.

Projects needing long-term involvement of a biostatistician

After discussion of your intended proposal with your project biostatistician, it may become clear that biostatistical inputs into the design, conduct and reporting of the project may require a non-trivial amount of time. Provision should then be made for securing funding to cover the cost of these inputs, subject to the funding agency's guidelines. Projects that require sustained biostatistical input may require the establishment of a temporary position or ring-fencing of a portion of a full-time equivalent biostatistician.

Deciding on a statistical method or test

We advise you to discuss this with a biostatistician who will help to identify an appropriate statistical method for each aim of the study. This discussion is best held before data is collected, and in research with human subjects, it is essential during development of the protocol.

Workshops

We offer a comprehensive range of workshops in quantitative research methods. The goal of these workshops is to stimulate research and to foster the interaction of researchers in the Faculty of Health. The workshops will provide the opportunity for faculty and graduate students to have better understanding of basic principles and methods of biostatistics and research methodology, use basic statistical terminology with ease, identify important directions for future research and facilitate research collaboration.

Current staff and HDR students can find out more and register for our workshops.

Find out more about our workshops

Contact us

Director, Biostatistics Unit
Associate Professor Liliana Orellana
Email A/Prof. Orellana

Biostatistics Unit
4th floor, Building B
Burwood Campus
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3125
Australia