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Led by Duncan Young and Peter Watkinson, the Critical Care Research Group undertakes a programme of research which focuses on the identification of early patient deterioration and long-term clinical outcomes of patients who have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The research team has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and designs mixed methods projects to enable a breadth of research questions to be addressed.


Current research projects include HAVEN, a hospital-wide project to design and develop an electronic early warning system to identify patients who may need treatment on the intensive care unit; SILENCE, a project funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit funding stream which is looking at the relationship between noise, sleep, and the development of delirium in patients admitted to the intensive care unit; and REFLECT, a study reviewing the care of patients after they have been discharged from intensive care.

Other current collaborative projects include Frequency of Observations (FOBS) which aims to develop an evidence-based protocol for how frequently vital signs (heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, temperature etc) are taken when patients are admitted to hospital; a study looking at why some patients develop new onset atrial fibrillation when admitted to ICU and how best to treat them (CAFE); and RRAM which is using routinely collected data to evaluate effects of different medications that prevent blood clotting during treatment to improve kidney function.  

Previous studies include the TracMan trial which was the world’s largest trial on the timing of tracheostomies; OSCAR, an HTA funded trial to study high frequency ventilation in patients with ARDS; ICON, the world’s largest study of quality of life and functional outcome in survivors of critical illness; and PICRAM, an observational study supported by the Department of Health and Wellcome Trust through the Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) Fund looking to develop personalised alerting thresholds for monitoring hospital inpatients through wireless, wearable devices. The Critical Care Research Group has a long-standing academic relationship with the NIHR funded Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) through the CALMS series of studies which aims to improve the management of patients after abdominal surgery.

The group has a successful history of hosted postgraduate projects, and welcomes enquiries from prospective students and those interested in pursuing an Academic Clinical Fellowship as part of their medical training. We also have research secondment opportunities for critical care (includes intensive care and anaesthetics) nurses and allied health professionals employed within the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Our Affiliates

Lionel Tarassenko  
Marco Pimentel  
David Clifton  


Patients with covid19 who are admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford are being monitored using a system developed in collaboration between the Critical Care Research Group and the Institute for BioMedical Engineering. The project is funded through the NIHR Oxford BioMedical Research Centre and was deployed very quickly during March. 

Read more here


A new review from the 4P Study led by Peter Watkinson and Lucy MacKillop and funded by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre suggests that blood pressure and heart rate changes during pregnancy are not as dramatic as traditionally taught.

Read the full paper here 


Julie Darbyshire, Research Programme Manager for the Critical Care Research Group, was interviewed by Jonathan Downham for his critical care focused podcast series. Their chat 'Enough with the noise already!' is online now.

For more information about the SILENCE programme of research studies click here.

Read more news

Research Studies

Critical Care Atrial Fibrillation Evaluation (CAFE)

Critical care Atrial Fibrillation Evaluation (CAFE) study will bring together the best evidence on which to base improved guidelines for treatment of patients who develop atrial fibrillation on an ICU.


The HAVEN project was funded by the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a joint venture supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health.

Safer and more efficient vital signs monitoring: an observational study (FOBS)

The FOBS study aims to develop an evidence-based protocol for how frequently observations should be made that will be both safe and achievable across all acute NHS hospitals

Renal Replacement Anticoagulant Management (RRAM)

The Renal Replacement Anticoagulant Management (RRAM) study will research the advantages and disadvantages of the two anticoagulant methods for patients with a kidney injury and treated in an ICU


The REcovery FoLlowing Intensive CarE Treatment (REFLECT) research programme is funded by a grant awarded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit scheme.


The Sleep in the Intensive Care Unit: Lowering Elements of Noise in the Critical Care Environment (SILENCE) research programme was funded by a feasibility study grant awarded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit scheme, and was sponsored by the University of Oxford. The project ended in 2018 and final results are expected to be published during 2019.


The PICRAM study is funded by the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a joint initiative supported by the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust.

NIHR BRC Studies

Several studies run through the University of Oxford Critical Care Research Group offices are funded by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.


The Critical Care Research Group undertakes a number of studies that are adopted by the NIHR local research network portfolio.

Non-contact vital signs monitoring

The non-contact vital signs monitoring (NVSM) study was a joint collaboration between the Department of Engineering, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and Oxehealth Ltd.


The University of Oxford Critical Care Research Group has a long standing collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and shares facilities with the NDORMS trauma research team who are also based at the Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research & Education. The team also works closely with researchers from ICNARC, the Health Experiences Research Group and Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research Centre on a number of studies.

The group works alongside the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust adult intensive care teams at both the Churchill and John Radcliffe Hospitals. We are currently able to offer short-term research secondments for nursing staff in the adult ICU. These allow clinical staff to maintain their nursing skills whilst offering the opportunity to gain an insight into research activities.

Recent research partnerships with Oxehealth and the Virtual Acoustics and Audio Engineering group at the University of Southampton are enabling new technology to be tested in the hospital environment.