Research Themes

Surgical trial delivery and methodology, placebo control for surgical trials, PROMs


GDPhys, MCSP, MSc, MA, DPhil, FBOA (hon), FRCS (hon)

Prof David Beard

Surgical & Complex Interventions Lead

David Beard is Professor and Surgical & Complex Intervention Trials Program Lead at the NHMRC CTC, University of Sydney. He is also Professor of Musculoskeletal and Surgical Sciences at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) in the University of Oxford, an NIHR Senior Investigator and the Director of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) Surgical Intervention Trials Unit (SITU-NDORMS). 

He specialises in the evaluation (pan-specialty) of surgical interventions but with a special interest in orthopaedics and plastics, and other (MSK) complex interventions (rehab/physiotherapy).

David has published several practice clinical trials in surgery and rehabilitation and is currently Chief Investigator or Co-app in 16 substantial clinical trials. He has over 300 published articles (8 in Lancet) and as a surgical trialist he sits on, or chairs, several NIHR/Charitable Steering or Funding committees, both nationally and internationally.


Research interests

  • Surgical trial delivery and methodology
  • Placebo control for surgical trials
  • Outcome measure development and validation (including PROMS)
  • Global health and global surgical evaluation
  • Implementation of and evaluation of Robotic Assisted Surgery (RAS)
  • Knee and lower limb clinical trials
  • Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) 


Teaching and supervision

David coordinates and teaches on short courses in surgical evaluation (BOASTIC), nationally and internationally and currently supervises 3 PhD/DPhil candidates.



  • Surgical Trials and Evaluation
  • Placebo control for surgery
  • Expertise trial design
  • Device and implant evaluation
  • Robotic surgery (and its implementation)
  • Outcome measurement
  • ACL injury
  • Knee replacement
  • Hip, Knee, Shoulder, Hand, and Spine Surgery Evaluation


Education, Professional Designations & Conferred Titles

  • NIHR Senior Investigator Award (College of NIHR Senior Investigators) Award for Excellence in Healthcare Research 2022
  • British Orthopaedic Association (BOA)
    Award of Honorary Fellowship for services to Orthopaedic Science [F.B.O.A.] 2021
  • Royal College of Surgeons (England) Clinical Trials Chair (RCS)
    Designation of 1 of 5 RCS Professorships 2019 (Rosetrees Trust)
  • Royal College of Surgeons (England)
    Award of Honorary Fellowship for services to Surgical Science [F.R.C.S.] 2017
  • Committee member of RADAR (Robotics And DigitAl suRgery initiative), Royal College of Surgeons, since 2019
  • Finnish Academy of Science Health Research Panel Chair, 2017-2021
  • Versus Arthritis (VA) Progress Committee Chair, 2018-2020, member since 2012
  • Member of British Association of Surgery of the Knee (BASK), since 2012
  • University of Oxford, Faculty of Clinical Medicine (Dept. of Orthopaedics & Trauma)
    Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. [D.Phil.] 1996
  • University of Oxford, Kellogg College (Governing Body)
    Degree of Master of Arts. [M.A.] by Resolution 2013
  • University of London, Kings College, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences
    Degree of Master of Science. [M.Sc.] 1992
  • University of Nottingham, School of Physiotherapy
    Grad. Dip. Phys. (M.C.S.P.) Part I - 1985, Grad. Dip. Phys. (M.C.S.P.) Part II - 1987 (Distinction)