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Innovative ventilation technologies for treatment of patients in ICU commissioning brief


Published: 06 April 2022

Version: 1.1 01.04.22

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We are commissioning research into the use of innovative ventilation technologies for the treatment of patients in intensive care units (ICU). This call is not limited to COVID-19 patients, and studies should be relevant to all critically-ill patients who require ventilation.

The call aims to support robustly designed studies with the potential to improve health outcomes for patients, the public and health and social care services, as well as reducing inequalities. We are interested in potential impacts on whole populations, but relevant populations or sub-groups may also be studied, based on wider determinants of health such as ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, gender or other social markers. For all proposals, applicants should clearly state the utility of the outcomes and the mechanisms by which they will inform future health, public health and social care policy and practice.

We anticipate that a range of projects in size and scope will be commissioned. Studies may include evidence syntheses, studies evaluating interventions, including trials, quasi and natural experimental evaluations, and feasibility and pilot studies for these. We welcome applications for linked studies (e.g. pilot plus main evaluation, evidence syntheses plus modelling). Secondary analyses of existing epidemiological data and/or impact modelling studies may also be funded. In all cases a strong justification for the chosen design and methods must be made.

Whilst this is not a call for specifically COVID-19 related research, the experience of the pandemic may have stimulated clinical interventions and learning that would be generalizable to other infectious diseases.

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Mechanical ventilation techniques
  • Digital technologies to optimise mechanical ventilation techniques
  • Ventilation positions
  • Within proposed trials, testing hypotheses around the mechanism of action of the intervention, which may include explaining differential responses

We have a number of funded studies in the area, which are ongoing, so any applications will need to be placed within the landscape of these ongoing studies.

Applications should be co-produced, demonstrating an equal partnership with service commissioners, providers and service users in order to provide evidence and actionable findings of immediate utility to decision-makers and service users. Applicants may wish to consult the NIHR guidance on co-producing research. 

How to apply

Research proposals must be within the remit of at least one participating NIHR programme. The programmes involved in this call are:

Applicants should note that:

  • Applications which span the remit of one or more of the participating NIHR programmes will be welcomed. In these cases, the application should be submitted to the programme within whose remit the major part of the work lies.
  • Applicants should justify the importance of their proposed research and its potential impact on patient care.
  • Applicants should clearly state how their proposed research addresses an explicit evidence gap and how the research adds value to the existing NIHR research portfolio.
  • Applications should be collaborative and involve investigators spanning different specialties and a range of those delivering care, methodologists and also service users, carers and patients.
  • Patient and public involvement should be included within the application and study design.

Contact information

Applicants who require further guidance should contact the programme they feel is the most appropriate for their research idea. Applicants may also wish to contact their local Research Design Service (RDS) to discuss their research idea.

Deadline for proposals

Please note that submission dates vary, and completed forms must be submitted by the date specified on the relevant programme's webpage, as linked above.