We believe research can save babies’ lives and improve care and support for bereaved families. Investment in research is vital to increase knowledge, to improve care, and to maintain the political will to reduce perinatal mortality.

In 2018 in the UK around 5,000 babies were stillborn or died within the first 4 weeks of their lives. This makes up 75% of the deaths of children under 16 years old.

We still do not fully understand why many babies die, or what more can be done to prevent deaths. For as many as one in four babies the cause of death is still not known.

We also know that the care and support for families when a baby does die is inconsistent and there are unanswered questions about what is helpful.

Research is one of the only ways we will get answers to why our baby died.

Priya, bereaved parent

Our Goals

We are committed to supporting and funding research that means we can:

  • Save babies' lives by improving maternity and neonatal care
  • Understand why babies die
  • Provide better bereavement care and support

Research is vital to finding new ways to reduce baby deaths. Sands’ commitment to strengthening UK perinatal research will directly lead to new discoveries and better care for women and their families.

Dr Sarah Stock, University of Edinburgh, Sands Trustee

How you can help

 

Our studies

We’re dedicated to supporting research into:

  • the causes of stillbirths and neonatal deaths.
  • better ways of identifying and monitoring babies at increased risk of dying.

Sands contributes to the funding of some research studies using money from our research fund.

Read more about the studies we support here

Supporting research

Sands regularly receives requests for help with research into aspects of stillbirth and neonatal death. Requests include assistance in recruiting participants and advising on specific aspects of a proposed study. 

While we welcome research activities in this important area, we have the capacity to support only those projects that aim to:

  • reduce the numbers of babies dying, or
  • improve bereavement care.

Read more about the research we support here

Apply for research funding

Sands aims to reduce the number of babies dying and to improve bereavement care for all parents and families.

To help us meet our aims, we fund research focusing on:

  • understanding the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death
  • identifying pregnancies at risk of perinatal deaths and improving care for those pregnancies 
  • improving bereavement care.

We will consider proposals from UK-based researchers that focus on: 
•    understanding the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death, and/or
•    identifying pregnancies at risk of perinatal death, and/or 
•    improving interventions to manage at-risk pregnancies, or
•    optimising bereavement care

Find out more about how to apply for research funding here

Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership

The Late Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership (Stillbirth PSP) brought together the views of bereaved parents, health professionals, researchers and charities on what they think are the most important unanswered questions around late stillbirth.

The 11 priority questions identified by the PSP are below. These will help research groups and the funding organisations make decisions on designing and funding research into this vitally important area. Read the full process overview and results from the Stillbirth PSP.

Read more about the Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership here

Stillbirth Clinical Studies Group

Sands supports the Stillbirth Clinical Studies Group – a group of clinicians and scientists who meet twice a year to discuss research focusing on stillbirth. The aim is to share expertise and knowledge and help those working in this area to design and carry out good-quality research that provides useful results.

The current Group members are listed below. The Group is chaired by Dr Sarah Stock, University of Edinburgh, and meets at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London.

Read more about the Stillbirth Clinical Studies Group here

amrc, association of medical research charities, sands

AMRC membership

We fund research of the highest quality and are proud members of the Association of Medical Research Charities. The AMRC is the national membership organisation of leading medical and health research charities. 

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