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The NPEU Clinical Trials Unit: Proud to research the perinatal period

Fertility / Pre-conception | Pregnancy | Childbirth | Neonatal Research

About Us

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit Clinical Trials Unit (NPEU CTU) is a fully registered (UKCRC) Clinical Trials Unit based in the Department of Oxford Population Health at the University of Oxford. We undertake research relating to interventions delivered during the perinatal period, covering fertility and conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and neonatal care. We have been undertaking randomised controlled trials since 1978 when the NPEU was first established and have been a fully registered UKCRC Clinical Trials Unit since 2012. We have a track record in delivering research excellence and have long been at the forefront of obstetric and neonatal medicine.

We specialise in the design, conduct and dissemination of multi-centre, randomised controlled trials, both nationally and internationally. Our broad team of specialists provides expertise on all aspects of clinical trials, including study design, trial management, monitoring, randomisation, statistical analysis, data management and dissemination. We also collaborate on other types of study design including feasibility and pilot studies, and proof of concept studies. We work closely with patients, parents/carers and the public at every stage of the research journey.

Our mission is to conduct the highest-quality research and deliver patient-centred outcomes that improve care and health experiences for parents, babies and families. Research studies run by the NPEU CTU are typically funded by government (e.g. National Institute of Health Research) or major charities.

Below is a selection of the types of research we undertake. If you would like more information please do get in touch with us by email: or see our Collaborate With Us page.

  • Going Global

    The NPEU CTU is also a founding member of INPRES, the International Perinatal Research Partnership, a collaboration between institutions around the world leading and undertaking research in the field of perinatology. This partnership of international institutions aims to increase the ease and speed with of conducting high quality global research during the perinatal period. To find out more about INPRES please visit the INPRES webpage.

  • Randomised Controlled Trials

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    Designing and running multi-arm randomised controlled trials is what we do day in, day out. We can run any type of randomised trial from parallel designed trials to cluster randomised controlled trials.

  • Feasibility Studies

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    A feasibility study is conducted prior to a main study to understand whether the main study can practically be done. It is used to understand important factors and considerations that need to be built into the design of the main study, such as what interventions could be used or what the outcomes should be. A feasibility study helps you to determine whether the main study can and should be done.

  • Pilot Studies

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    A pilot study is a full clinical trial but run on a smaller scale. Many large randomised controlled trials will have a pilot built into them, which occurs during the first period of recruitment. Pilot studies demonstrate whether a trial is viable and scalable.

  • Health Economic Evaluations

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    In a trial, resource use and health-related quality of life data will often also be collected alongside clinical outcomes. Including an economic evaluation helps policy makers understand what represents value for money from a NHS and broader societal perspective.

  • Qualitative Research

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    Our trials may include qualitative research with patients, parents, or health professionals. Qualitative research can include focus groups, in-depth interviews, surveys, and observation. It looks below the surface of a topic to understand the 'how' and 'why' questions.

  • Psychological Outcomes

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    Many trials will include psychological or neurodevelopmental assessments as part of their outcomes. This may include looking at the emotional, cognitive and behavioural development of children. We work closely with psychologists to ensure that appropriate outcomes are measured within our trials.