Research grants | Association of Anaesthetists

Research grants

Research grants

Every year the Association offers a number of grants for research. Funding applications are made through the NIAA, and details of the funding rounds can be found on the NIAA's website. You can find out more information about these in our Grants, awards and prizes section.

NIAA Research Grants 2022 

Find information about the current round of Grants on the NIAA website: NIAA Opportunities - The National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia

If you're thinking about applying for a research grant, here are three reports from previous grant recipients to inspire you.

Patient-centred outcome measures for major surgery (P-COMMaS)

Applicant: Dr Oliver Boney of University College Hospital, London (2016)

Amount awarded: £5,179

About the project

The aim of the project was to identify outcome measures of most importance to patients undergoing major surgery.

The hypothesis was that patients undergoing major surgery are more concerned about long-term postoperative quality of life than short-term postoperative recovery.

Many peri-operative research trials report outcomes of questionable relevance to patients. Recent research has focused on patient-centred outcome measures, but few studies have explicitly consulted patients having major surgery about which outcomes are most important to them.

Research methods

This mixed-methods study will seek views of patients, carers and clinicians regarding important outcome measures after major surgery, using:

  • A survey, based on a recently completed systematic review of peri-operative outcome measurement, with a recruitment target of 150-200 respondents
  • In-depth interviews exploring perspectives on major surgery, and how best to measure its outcomes


Survey: Numerical ratings of specific outcome domains, and differences between service users and clinicians, will be summarised using descriptive statistics. 

Interviews: Interview transcripts will be thematically analysed to provide additional perspectives on postoperative outcomes.


The results will inform the NIAA HSRC's 'Core Outcome Set for Peri-operative and Anaesthetic Care' project. Core Outcome Sets improve the relevance of research to patients and clinicians, facilitate systematic reviews, and enable comparison of results between trials.

Upper limb disorders in anaesthetists

Applicant: Dr Surrah Leifer of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust (2016)

Amount awarded: £4,920


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for ~40% of NHS sickness absences, with arm and neck disorders affecting 730:100,000 UK employees. 

Anecdotally, anaesthetists are prone to such disorders, especially neck problems, possibly related to repeated/prolonged poor posture e.g. during airway management, but the prevalence is unknown. 

If true, increased risk of upper limb disorders amongst anaesthetists may threaten both anaesthetic service provision through ill-health/sick leave, and patient safety through impaired performance of practical procedures.

Aims of the research are to ascertain the prevalence of upper limb disorders in anaesthetists in the UK and Ireland, and explore relationships with potential risk factors.

Research methods

An electronic survey will be sent to all ~11,000 Association members, asking a limited set of questions to identify upper limb disorders and potential risk factors e.g. age, height, weight, gender etc. 

The questions will be limited and focused, to encourage a good response rate, with potential for a follow-up study to explore some conditions/risk factors in more detail. 

The survey will be administered by a company used by the Association before, the associated cost covering its involvement. The results will be presented/disseminated in order to raise awareness and inform any subsequent steps around education/training and attention to workplace ergonomics.              

Comprehensive mouth-care to reduce post-operative pneumonia (CUPPA)

Principal applicants: Dr Tom Clark, Dr Charles Gibson, Dr Gary Minto, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (2014)

Amount awarded: £7,428

About the project

Postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) are the leading cause of death in both cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. They increase morbidity, ICU admission rates and length of hospital stay, with considerable financial burden. 

Aspiration of oropharyngeal secretions plays an important role in the pathogenesis of post-operative pneumonia. A large body of evidence supports improved oral hygiene as a method to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia but there is little evidence for such a regimen in non-ventilated patients.

We propose to recruit 120 elective major abdominal surgery patients at moderate or high risk of PPCs to a pilot multicentre randomised controlled trial. 

Patients will be block randomised to either a control group (a patient's normal oral hygiene regime) or a comprehensive oral hygiene group (daily teeth brushing and twice daily mouthwashing with chlorhexidine product and demonstration of oral plaque removal) for up to 7 days post-operatively. 

We anticipate the incidence of PPCs in the control cohort to be at least 8%. The primary objectives of the trial are to test patient compliance with the oral hygiene regime, to prove our researcher network's ability to conduct a multi-centre trial and to acquire pilot data in preparation for a definitive later study.                                                                                  

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