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INTRODUCTION: Methodologically robust clinical trials are required to improve neonatal care and reduce unwanted variations in practice. Previous neonatal research prioritisation processes have identified important research themes rather than specific research questions amenable to clinical trials. Practice-changing trials require well-defined research questions, commonly organised using the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) structure. By narrowing the scope of research priorities to those which can be answered in clinical trials and by involving a wide range of different stakeholders, we aim to provide a robust and transparent process to identify and prioritise research questions answerable within the National Healthcare System to inform future practice-changing clinical trials. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A steering group comprising parents, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, researchers and representatives from key organisations (Neonatal Society, British Association of Perinatal Medicine, Neonatal Nurses Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) was identified to oversee this project. We will invite submissions of research questions formatted using the PICO structure from the following stakeholder groups using an online questionnaire: parents, patients, healthcare professionals and academic researchers. Unanswered, non-duplicate research questions will be entered into a three-round eDelphi survey of all stakeholder groups. Research questions will be ranked by mean aggregate scores. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The final list of prioritised research questions will be disseminated through traditional academic channels, directly to key stakeholder groups through representative organisations and on social media. The outcome of the project will be shared with key research organisations such as the National Institute for Health Research. Research ethics committee approval is not required.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





neonatal intensive & critical care, neonatology, protocols & guidelines, Academies and Institutes, Consensus, Delphi Technique, Female, Health Priorities, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Pregnancy, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom