Methods Support Unit Manager

Job Title

Methods Support Unit Manager


Evidence Production and Methods

Reports to (title)

Head of Methods and Evidence Synthesis Development & Deputy Editor Chief


1 FTE (0.8 FTE considered)


The Evidence Production and Methods Directorate in Cochrane is made up of three departments that are responsible for the efficient and timely publication of high-quality systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library. One of the three departments is the Methods and Evidence Synthesis Development team.

The Methods Support Unit (MSU) sits in the Methods and Evidence Synthesis Development team. The MSU provides hands on statistical and methods support to people preparing Cochrane systematic reviews. As lead for the Methods Support Unit, you will be responsible for ensuring that people preparing reviews for publication in the Cochrane Library have access to current advice about the implementation of systematic review methods, including searching, statistical analysis, and bias assessment. The team comprises a Systematic Review Methodology Editor, a Statistical Editor and an Information Specialist. Additional budget will be made available to fund additional methods expertise as may be required.

The Methods Support Unit Manager will be responsible for ensuring that methodological and statistical queries from the Evidence Synthesis Development Editors, Editorial Service or Community Support Team are addressed. The role will require a formal qualification related to systematic review methods.


The Methods Support Unit (MSU) Manager is accountable to the Head of Methods and Evidence Synthesis Development & Deputy Editor in Chief.

Strategic management within Cochrane:

  • Line manage and support the development of the MSU staff.
  • Lead on editorial resource development for complex methods as needed.’
  • Work with the Methods Groups and Methods Executive on implementing new or complex methods in reviews and provide advice as requested.
  • Lead on methods implementation projects
  • Represent the MSU and its work by presenting at consultation meetings, or any other relevant meetings.
  • Chair cross-departmental meetings aimed at improving methods and review quality with Cochrane, among other ad-hoc chairing responsibilities.

    Methods support within Cochrane

  • Support the Head of Methods and Evidence Synthesis Development in delivering methods support as agreed to commissioned reviews
  • Provide hands-on methods support to Cochrane systematic reviews on request .
  • Be responsible for ensuring the independent methodological and statistical review of high-profile reviews, including those intended for press release.
  • Provide statistical and methodological advice on reviews submitted to the Editorial Service, as required.
  • Produce reports on reviews that are accurate, consistent, and actionable.
  • Oversee projects to monitor or audit the quality of methods and analysis in Cochrane reviews to inform priorities for training and guidance.
  • Keep up to date with current research into evidence synthesis methods
  • Undertake any other duties that may be considered appropriate.

    Learning and development and the Cochrane ‘Eco-system’

  • Organise the Methods Support Unit clinics
  • Work with colleagues in the central executive team to ensure smooth escalation and assessment of methodological queries, issues, and challenges from the wider Cochrane community.
  • Work with colleagues within the Cochrane methods community and the Membership, Learning and Support Services to develop methodological learning resources and support systems for Cochrane members and contributors..
  • Deliver methods-related training as necessary.


Essential attributes:

  • Post-graduate degree in systematic review related methods (or similar biomedical/health research methods qualification)
  • Involvement in systematic review related research
  • Line management experience
  • Familiarity with statistical methods used in pairwise and network meta-analysis
  • Familiarity with methods used for the synthesis of non-randomised studies
  • Understanding of the importance of systematic reviews to clinical or policy decision-making
  • Familiarity with Cochrane guidance and standards on the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews (MECIR) and GRADE methods.
  • Familiarity with Cochrane technology systems (e.g. Review Manager Software) or process (e.g. experience as a statistical editor)
  • Computing experience with a statistical software (such as Stata, R, SAS)
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work methodically and accurately
  • A proactive approach to problem-solving

Desirable attributes:

  • Understanding of methods used in individual patient data meta-analysis, diagnostic test accuracy, or prognostic reviews
  • An ability to develop and maintain working relationships with key stakeholders