Current research

Find out about the latest research projects that Bliss funds and supports.

Bliss funded research

Bliss currently funds the following projects:

Support at home for infants with feeding tubes (SHIFT)

Bliss is delighted to be funding the SHIFT project led by Dr Nick Embleton of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

This project will look at the main benefits for infant and family health, and the NHS, of early discharge to home with supported tube feeding in preterm infants.

Recruitment of babies started in January 2013.

Reducing painful eye examinations in preterm infants (REDEXAM)

All 8,000 babies born less than eight weeks early or less than 1.5kg birthweight in the UK every year are at risk of developing the serious eye complication retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Less than 1 in 10 of these babies ever need treatment.

But to identify those babies who need treatment requires that all babies at risk of developing ROP have eye examinations every 1 to 2 weeks from five weeks of age. These tests are uncomfortable and upsetting for babies and families.

A simple urine test appears to accurately identify those babies needing treatment and it is hoped to save thousands of babies from having the painful procedure.

Janet Berrington and her team will test the accuracy of the urine test.

This study successfully recruited more than 500 babies and analysis is now underway including a pre-planned European collaboration.

We hope that this will show the test is successful and fewer eye examinations will need to be done in the future.

The CoMPaSS (Concentrated Macronutrients in Parenteral Standardised Solutions) neonatal nutrition project

Following on from the excellent findings of the SCAMP study, Dr Colin Morgan and his team will work to roll out the concentrated version of TPN to several units in the North West of England.

Bliss supported research

Not only has Bliss funded its own change in practice research but also works in collaboration with organisations to support other areas of neonatal research.

Bliss is an integral member of the research teams for the following projects, currently supporting £10.1 million of research in neonatal care.

Neonatal Exchange Blood Transfusion

The British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) is doing a study to understand more about the safety and effectiveness of Neonatal Exchange Blood Transfusion in UK and Irish infants. For more information, take a look at the public information sheet, or visit the BPSU website.

SIFT: Speed of Increasing milk Feeds Trial

When babies are born too soon they have trouble feeding themselves so are given milk through a tube into their stomach. The volume of milk given starts off slowly and gradually increases. This study will look at which speed it is generally best to feed babies. The results could see improved long and short term health for babies, as well as lower infection rates.

The total number of babies needed for this research was reached 11 months ahead of target, with 2800 babies from 60 different units taking part.

Lead applicant: Dr Jon Dorling, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust

Funding: NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme

Medicines for Neonates

This project aims to improve health outcomes in relation to medicines and therapies for babies admitted to neonatal units, using routinely collected NHS electronic data to facilitate applied research processes.

Lead applicant: Professor Neena Modi, Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust

Funding: NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research


A protein that is naturally found in milk (lactoferrin) is thought to protect babies born too soon against infections and other serious illness during their stay in hospital. The research team will look at the effectiveness of lactoferrin.

Lead applicant: Professor William McGuire, Hull York Medical School

Funding: NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme

Improving quality of care and outcome at very preterm birth

The study aims to improve the quality of immediate care at preterm birth, enhance family-centred care, and improve outcome for infants and their families

Lead applicant: Professor Lelia Duley, Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit, University of Nottingham

Funding: NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research

PREVenting infection using Antibiotic Impregnated Long lines (PREVAIL)

This study will look at whether there is a difference in the numbers of bloodstream infections in babies with a normal catheter compared to one which contains antibiotics. For further information please visit the PREVAIL website.

Lead applicant: Professor Ruth Elisabeth Gilbert

Funding: NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme