Philosophy & History

Find out the history of our team, what we want to achieve, and how we plan to do it.

Research shows that even health patients who are not involved in trials themselves benefit from being in research-active hospitals. 

Downing et al (2017) Gut 66(1): 89-96.

We are a group of health/science professionals, working across the University of Edinburgh and NHS. We are committed to promoting and supporting perinatal research in order to improve pregnancy outcomes and experiences for pregnant women and families. Perinatal means the time around pregnancy and birth.

Meet our team

What we want to achieve - and how we plan to do it

To share the work we do with the people it impacts - patients, clinical staff, and other researchers - and get their feedback and participation to shape future research.

  • Have a visible and up-to-date online presence with our website and a clear channel to contact us;
  • Use plain language to share information about research;
  • Interact online using social media channels and provide a quarterly newsletter.

To provide a perinatal research platform for both University of Edinburgh internal collaboration, and wider external outreach.

  • Reach out to network with diverse perinatal research communities.
  • Encourage access to the Edinburgh Reproductive Tissue BioBank for research purposes.

We provide service users with timely and user-friendly information about the research we are doing. Check out our social media feeds below, and catch up on our latest news.

Initially funded as a Tommy’s research centre within the Centre for Reproductive Health, the team was founded at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in April 2008 by Professor Jane Norman, and subsequently led by the late Professor Fiona Denison.

Over the years, its research has focused on three main themes: maternal obesity, technologies and data-drive innovations, and preterm birth.

Key achievements

  • The creation of the Edinburgh Reproductive Tissue BioBank, a major national repository of biological samples available to researchers from around the world - most recently collecting placental tissue from pregnant women affected by Covid-19.
  • Pioneering specialist care for obese pregnant women, a population affected by a doubled risk of stillbirth; its Metabolic Clinic has provided a blueprint care pathway for detecting potentially life-threatening problems early, in order to offer timely interventions.
  • The establishment of Scotland's first specialist Preterm Birth Clinic, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospital, as well as leading numerous clinical trials into preventing preterm birth and stillbirth.

Situated in the state-of-the-art buildings of the Queen’s Medical Research Institute, in 2021 the team was renamed the Edinburgh Pregnancy Research Team. It includes the expertise of a diverse group of specialists - researchers, research midwives and laboratory staff - working together to further pregnancy research.