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Our team is committed to ensure that our babies benefit from cutting edge research.  At any one time there are several research projects underway on the unit.  All research taking place on the unit undergoes independent ethics committee and research and development review before it is undertaken.  This safeguards the rights and welfare of research participants, as well as making sure that high quality research is carried out.  Research findings are shared at local, national and international conferences.

Carrying out research is a very important part of what we do in the NICU in our goal to provide the best care and treatments possible for our patients.  It is through research that we are able to find out better ways to look after our babies.

Research enables us to develop and improve the nursing and medical care we give.  We can test new treatments and medications and improve current ones through research.  We can enhance the quality of our services and improve the health of patients by carrying out research in the NICU.

Safety for patients involved in research is very important to us.  Every study has a protocol (a set of rules or guidelines) and the research is conducted only when all the safety regulations and approvals are granted.  These approvals ensure that the research is planned and designed safely and in the right way to answer the questions the research is asking. Studies are then closely monitored throughout for quality and safety.


Lead Consultant for Research: Dr Ajt Mahaveer

Clinical Research Nurse/Team Lead: Nicola Booth

Research Co-ordinator: Karen Dockery

Research Nurses: Imelda Mayor, Clare Clifford, Roxy Afzal


Will I be asked to take part in Research?

Wherever possible we like to give parents the opportunity for their baby to be involved in research.  The chance to participate in a study will depend if the research is suitable for you, your baby, your baby's condition or baby's treatment.  You may find that you are able to, and are asked to consider your baby for more than one study.

If you are invited to take part in a study, you will be given information about the study, a written information sheet all about it, time to think about it and to ask any questions you have.  You will receive an information sheet telling you:

  • What is the purpose of the study.
  • Why you/your baby have been chosen.
  • What is involved in the study.
  • What will happen to if you take part.
  • What happens next/at the end of the study.
  • What will happen to the results of the research study.
  • What happens if there is a problem.
  • Contact for further information.

If you decide you would like your baby to participate in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form to say you are happy to be involved.


What kind of research is happening on the unit?

In our experience, parents welcome the opportunity to learn about studies their baby may be eligible to take part in. They can then make the choice of whether they would like to participate or not.

You can read more about the research we do here.


Current Studies:


Aims to determine whether the type of unit in which neonatal care is delivered influences outcomes.  In this 3 year study, national data collected on babies born at 27-31 weeks will be analysed to assess the impact of the type of unit in which neonatal care is delivered on outcomes for these babies.



Aims to compare a short course of vancomycin (an antibiotic) to a long course of vancomycin in patients with an infection.  300 participants will be enrolled from five EU countries (Estonia, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom).  Saint Mary's Hospital was the first UK site to recruit to this study.


This is a 2 year UK study which aims to understand if there is a relationship between genetic risks, preterm birth and neurodevelopmental outcomes in babies born at less than 32 weeks' gestation and their parents.


Vitamin K

This is a study that aims to compare vitamin K and folic levels in preterm infants exclusively or predominantly human milk fed with formula fed babies when they are discharged home and in early infancy.



Outcome after Selective Early Treatment for Closure of Patent Ductus ARteriosus in Preterm Babies born at 23+0 to 28+6 weeks' gestation and less than 72 hours old.  The trial involves 30 sites in the UK.



This is a study to introduce and validate non-invasive cerebral saturation monitoring during transfer and transportation of the neonate with the aim to provide staff with more in depth information about the patient's oxygen levels throughout transfer.  The aim is to recruit up to 20 participants who require non-emergency transfer.