The North East region boasts a highly active research scene in Critical Care. There are a wide range of research themes and methods including laboratory science, experimental medicine, clinical trials and health improvement research. From recruiting patients to portfolio studies on the ICU to undertaking world class original research as part of a higher degree, the North East offers exceptional research opportunities for trainees.

Professor John Simpson, based in Newcastle University and the Freeman Hospital, has interests in the innate immune system and diagnostics for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Laboratory work focuses on understanding mechanisms of impaired innate immunity in critical illness and the search for novel therapies to rescue immune dysfunction. For VAP, novel diagnostics based on biomarkers of the pulmonary immune response have been developed. In both of these areas laboratory work has been translated into multi-centre clinical trials. Professor Simpson supervises a number of PhD students and an Academic Clinical Lecturer in ICM. There are opportunities to pursue a higher degree (PhD/MD) within his research group.

Dr Stephen Wright has an interest in health improvement research and is principal investigator on a number of portfolio studies in the Freeman Hospital. He is Lead Clinical Investigator on the FREE study, evaluating family experiences on ICU. There is the opportunity of a 12-month, in-programme, research fellow post with funding for a postgraduate certificate in clinical research.

Professor Stephen Bonner, based in James Cook University Hospital, has an interest in subarachnoid haemorrhage, outcome health economics and genetics, service improvement and rehabilitation from critical illness. He is principal investigator for a number of portfolio studies. Professor Bonner is currently supervising a PhD student and offers opportunities for service improvement research modules.

The Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) Leads for Critical Care are Dr Simon Baudouin (RVI) and Professor Stephen Bonner (James Cook). The whole of the region is represented in the LCRN to facilitate region-wide delivery of studies on the CRN portfolio. The LCRN recognises the valuable role that trainees can have in portfolio studies and engaging in portfolio studies is an accessible way for trainees to become involved in research. The LCRN will sponsor trainees in obtaining Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training to allow involvement in portfolio studies.

A trainee network has been established in the region. This is a group of trainees that aim to conduct region wide audit and research. This network is linked with the wider network of trainee networks across the country as part of the Research and Audit Federation of Trainees (RAFT).

Academic training can be pursued through training schemes such as Academic Clinical Fellowships and the Academic Clinical Lectureships. However PhD and MD degrees can be taken outside of these training schemes. It is advised that trainees plan well in advance and approach potential academic supervisors early. Research training remains a bespoke experience and if you have an interest in pursing academic opportunities, regardless of your level of training or career route, start planning your fellowship early.

Further guidance on academic training can be found on the FICM website:


Professor John Simpson
Professor Stephen Bonner
Dr Stephen Wright
Dr Simon Baudouin


The following trainees can be approached for informal advice:

Tony Rostron, Academic Clinical Lecturer
Tom Hellyer, PhD student (John Simpson)
Edel McAuley, PhD student (Stephen Bonner)


Trainee Audit & Research Network:

Wednesday the 27th - -

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