Research Prioritization of Interventions for the Primary Prevention of Preterm Birth: An International Survey

For which topic were research priorities identified?

preterm birth

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?


Why was it conducted at all?

With limited resources available for research, it is important to establish priorities in health research to inform future efforts and better utilize scarce resources. The top research priority of a recent James Lind Alliance priority setting partnership for PTB was the need to identify the most effective interventions to prevent PTB. There is currently large literature reporting different interventions for the primary prevention of preterm birth as applied in different contexts. It is therefore important for those who are in a position to fund or deliver research projects on PTB prevention, or implement results of its findings, to prioritize which available interventions to further assess in clinical trials or individual patient data meta-analyses.

What was the objective?

to identify research priorities of interventions for primary prevention of preterm birth

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 8 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

November 2016

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: literature review: to identify the 15 most promising interventions for prevention of preterm birth. Step 2: online survey: participants were asked to rate the 15 interventions along 9 criteria and free text option provided to suggest other interventions not considered

Which stakeholders took part?

159 participants: mainly clinicians (80%) made up of obstetricians (68%), neonatologists (24%), nurses/midwives (7%) and general practitioners (2%), researchers, epidemiologists, consumers, policymakers, representatives of NGOs, funding bodies

How were stakeholders recruited?

Recruitment: A database of healthcare providers, academics, lay representatives, public health specialists and policy makers was established from existing networks of maternal and perinatal health research from a range of both higher- and lower-income countries. Public health specialists and policy makers were identified from WHO networks, while healthcare providers, academics, and lay representatives were identified from the database of participants in the PTB core outcome set development group.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.