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BACKGROUND: The provision of neonatal care is variable and commonly lacks adequate evidence base; strategic development of methodologically robust clinical trials is needed to improve outcomes and maximise research resources. Historically, neonatal research topics have been selected by researchers; prioritisation processes involving wider stakeholder groups have generally identified research themes rather than specific questions amenable to interventional trials. OBJECTIVE: To involve stakeholders including parents, healthcare professionals and researchers to identify and prioritise research questions suitable for answering in neonatal interventional trials in the UK. DESIGN: Research questions were submitted by stakeholders in population, intervention, comparison, outcome format through an online platform. Questions were reviewed by a representative steering group; duplicates and previously answered questions were removed. Eligible questions were entered into a three-round online Delphi survey for prioritisation by all stakeholder groups. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and eight respondents submitted research questions for consideration; 144 participants completed round one of the Delphi survey, 106 completed all three rounds. RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-five research questions were submitted and after steering group review, 186 entered into the Delphi survey. The top five ranked research questions related to breast milk fortification, intact cord resuscitation, timing of surgical intervention in necrotising enterocolitis, therapeutic hypothermia for mild hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and non-invasive respiratory support. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified and prioritised research questions suitable for practice-changing interventional trials in neonatal medicine in the UK at the present time. Trials targeting these uncertainties have potential to reduce research waste and improve neonatal care.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed

Publication Date



health services research, neonatology