Asking the right questions – setting the agenda for future stillbirth research

Professor Alexander Heazell

The final priority-setting meeting was held in Manchester in February 2015, with 25 participants. Eleven research priorities for stillbirth have been agreed and circulated to funders and participants

Investigators: Professor Alexander Heazell, Dr Melissa Whitworth, Dr Catherine Calderwood (Department of Health), Dr Flora Jessop (Cambridge), Jane Brewin (Tommy’s), Gail Johnson (RCM), Charlotte Bevan (Sands), Isobel Martin (Holly Martin Stillbirth Research Fund), Andrew Canter (NMSF), Leanne Metcalf (James Lind Alliance)

Summary: Research themes are often developed according to the interests of researchers and professionals. Priority-setting partnerships have been developed as a way to identify and prioritise important research questions for specific conditions. These partnerships use standard and transparent methods to identify and prioritise research questions.

The Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership was facilitated by the James Lind Alliance, part of the National Institute of Health Research. A steering group was formed in 2012 and involved more than 25 stakeholder organisations.

The first survey generated more than 1,250 potential questions from over 670 respondents, which the steering group reduced to 361. Searches of medical studies found that 61 of these questions had been answered. A second survey of the 48 highest ranked unanswered questions was answered by 1,118 participants (33% parents, 67% professionals).

The final priority-setting meeting was held in Manchester in February 2015, with 25 participants. Eleven research priorities for stillbirth have been agreed and circulated to funders and participants. [M502]

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