NIHR and FICM Logos 2022

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) and Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 awards. The winner of the Established Clinician is Dr Peter McGuigan and Dr Alicia Waite has been awarded the Early Career Clinician. Now in their fifth year, these joint awards recognise the outstanding contributions of NHS doctors conducting intensive care research alongside their normal jobs.

Early Careers Clinician

Dr Alicia Waite

Dr Alicia Waite is a health education north west intensive care medicine ST4 in Mersey and a senior critical care research fellow at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (RLUH). The judging panel were incredibly impressed by Dr Waite’s recruitment of patients to studies through multi-professional engagement.

Dr Waite’s clinical support at the RLUH has increased patient and junior doctor participation in studies, especially during the pandemic. Dr Waite devised a rota for ICU clinical fellows to provide research nurses with consistent access to a doctor, which was essential as some studies require a doctor to assess and gain consent from patients, such as REMAP-CAP.

As a result, all patients who were eligible and wanted to take part in a study could participate. The constant presence of research fellows in critical care allowed junior doctors to discuss their recent involvement in research and increased awareness amongst nurses of ongoing studies.

Dr Waite also partly designed and is co-chief investigator of the PIM-COVID study, where 110 patients have been recruited at RLUH and 53 more have been recruited at the sister site, Aintree University Hospital.

PIM-COVID uses questionnaires 3, 6 and 12 months after ICU discharge to investigate the psychological impact of COVID-19 on ICU survivors in the UK.

PIM-COVID is trainee-led, led by members of the Trainee Research in Intensive Care (TRIC) network. The trainee principal investigators and co-investigators are doctors with little or no research experience, working alongside research fellows.

Through the involvement of trainees in the PIM-COVID study, there will be more enthusiasm amongst trainees to develop their own research interest and therefore greater future interest in NIHR CRN portfolio studies.

I feel honoured to receive this award and want to recognise the whole team involved with initiating and successfully conducting the PIM-COVID study during the COVID pandemic. It would not have been possible without the support of the TRIC network, the clinical research team and the R&D department at the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Alicia Waite

The Established Clinician

Dr Peter McGuigan

Dr Peter McGuigan is a consultant in intensive care medicine & anaesthesia at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT). The judging committee commended Dr McGuigan on his collaborative approach engaging multi-professional and multi-specialty teams and his impressive delivery of patient public engagement.

Since becoming the clinical co-lead for the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (NICRN) critical care interest group in 2019, Dr McGuigan has doubled the number of patients recruited into NIHR portfolio studies with the number of participants rising from 199 in 2019 to 402 in 2022.

Dr McGuigan has been instrumental in expanding research teams, embedding research into daily clinical care, establishing protected research time and a dedicated COVID-19 research delivery team.

Through the increase of research capacity and Dr McGuigan’s participation in the NIHR Urgent Public Health Group, the research team at BHSCT have been able to accomplish some remarkable achievements. For instance, the research team at BHSCT recruited the first patient to the antiviral and the simvastatin arms of REMAP-CAP and were the first centre in the world to administer mesenchymal stem to a COVID-19 patient in the REALIST study.

The team have also been able to recruit a notable amount of patients to COVID-19 studies: recruiting 135 patients to REMAP-CAP, 114 to GenOMIC, and were the top recruiting site for REALIST-COVID.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr McGuigan has been able to keep momentum for research, setting up a COVID-19 research delivery team to enhance capacity and enable re-growth in other specialties.

By engaging previous cardiac arrest research participants and their families, Dr McGuigan established the first PPI group for cardiac survivors and their families in Northern Ireland. This group has then informed Dr McGuigan’s feasibility study examining the effects of blood pressure on outcomes following a cardiac arrest. Dr McGuigan’s innovative approach to his study keeps service users at the forefront of the study design.

Over the last three years, my co-lead, Dr Jon Silversides, and I have shared a vision of embedding research in daily clinical care to provide critically ill patients with access to world-leading research. I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of our team.

Dr Peter McGuigan

Words of recognition

I'm delighted to learn about the high-quality applications for the fifth FICM-NIHR awards celebrating clinical research across NHS critical care. Congratulations to award winners Dr McGuigan (Belfast) and Dr Waite (Liverpool) for their leading contributions developing and delivering the most impactful patient research during the challenging times of global pandemic.

Professor Paul Dark
NIHR Deputy Medical Director and National Specialty Lead for Critical Care

I am pleased we are able to offer this award again. It has been a difficult few years for Intensive Care Medicine and it is great we are able to recognise the enthusiastic engagement of NHS clinicians who are conducting research alongside their normal jobs.

Dr Alison Pittard
Dean, Faculty Intensive Care Medicine

More information about the awards and previous winners can be found at