Intensive Care Society
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About The Intensive Care Society

The Intensive Care Society is the representative body in the UK for intensive care professionals and patients and is dedicated to the delivery of the highest quality of critical care to patients. We perform many functions for the intensive care community, such as the production of guidelines and standards, organising national meetings, training courses and focus groups. We represent Intensive Care in wide ranging organisations from the Royal Colleges to the Department of Health and other organisations and societies with an associated stake or interest. The President also sits on the Board of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine. 

By 2001 international research in intensive care had clearly demonstrated the value of collaboration between intensive care units to provide a strong evidence base to solve clinically relevant questions and deliver solutions that would go on to benefit patients.

About The Intensive Care Foundation

In 2003 The Intensive Care Society formed The Intensive Care Foundation with the specific aim to facilitate and support the highest quality collaborative intensive care research in the UK. This culture has become the focus for the intensive care community to deliver the best evidence base, to ultimately improve quality of care, patient safety and hence outcome for our patients.

The relationship between The Intensive Care Society and The Intensive Care Foundation

The Intensive Care Society (a registered charity) founded in 1970 is the leading UK professional organisation that focuses on the standards of care and safety for patients admitted to intensive care, together with the development and education for health care professionals who work within intensive care.

The Intensive Care Foundation is an integral part of the Society. Although it is answerable to and partly funded by ICS Council, it has its own Board responsible for raising funds, facilitating, and coordinating UK research.

Why is The Intensive Care Foundation needed?

Most medical charities focus on specific diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, strokes. However, these charities do not tend to specifically target research. During the patients time in intensive care a place where patients with many medical and surgical conditions have to be treated. Ironically this is also the period when most patients have the highest chance of dying from the illness that put them into hospital in the first place.

Why do Research?

Essentially we want to make a difference. The Foundation coordinates research that critically evaluates existing and new treatments used in intensive care units with a particular focus on important but unanswered questions in intensive care. The targets for research are set by our Directors of Research, an expert Scientific Advisory Board and finally a consensus of the membership of the Intensive Care Society.

How does The Intensive Care Foundation help patients?

Approximately 90,000 patients are admitted to intensive care each year and over 70,000 survive to leave hospital. Patients are admitted for many reasons as part of an emergency illness or accident that are so severe they cannot be managed elsewhere in the hospital, others for care after major surgery often related to cancer or heart disease.
Unfortunately not all our patients admitted to intensive care survive. Those that do can go on to suffer from fatigue, depression, chronic pain and even post traumatic stress disorder. These can lead to loss of jobs and stress on family members.
If we fund research we can improve our understanding of illness and what happens to patients once they have left intensive care. We can go on to help develop new strategies to treat critically ill patients and ultimately improve their experiences and outcomes.

UK ICU Admissions 2009

What has The Intensive Care Foundation achieved so far?

Our current funds are not large enough to provide the complete funding to the projects we have chosen to be involved with (as much as 1-2 million pounds is needed to provide collaborative research for a single study). However by providing “pump prime” money and developing the project design through a peer reviewed process we have been able to attract sponsorship from some of the major national grant awarding bodies. (eg Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research).
Since 2003 we have helped attract in excess of £10 million towards intensive care research in the UK.
We have 4 main strategies to initiate and facilitate collaborative research within UK Intensive Care;

  • We run a biannual research prioritisation exercise within the UK intensive care community. Intensivists compete to have their own project selected for support to the value of £50,000. The winner is chosen by peer review and presentations at our national “State of the Art” Intensive Care meeting in December of each year.
  • We provide support, expertise and advice to groups of individuals from UK intensive care units to prepare their own projects for grant application.
  • We sponsor several annual awards to encourage and help train young doctors to do research. The outcomes from these research projects are presented at our national “State of the Art” Intensive Care meeting in December of each year. Gold Medal Award and Young Investigators Awards
  • Design projects from within and chase major grant money from national grant awarding bodies. To increase the impact of research, these studies are usually carried out in many intensive care units across the UK.
  • Details of past and present studies

Where does the money come from to keep The Foundation Running?

In the short time since its inception The Foundation has become the largest provider of funds for intensive care research in the UK. There is no Government support.
The Foundation currently receives funding from 4 different revenue streams


  • Donations from the general public via fundraising activities and general giving
  • Funding from our patron
  • Funding from the Industry memebrship scheme
  • Funding via the membership of the Intensive Care Society


The Society’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal who has also given up time to launch activities that include introductory receptions at the Society’s National meetings and at Buckingham Palace, raising public and political awareness of the importance of critical care research at receptions at the Houses of Parliament.
B Braun Ltd: 1 Support specifically for a Deputy Director of Research to run our prioritisation exercise.

The money received from the above income sources is used to seed fund research projects. These projects then go on to attract larger investment and grants from funding agencies such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

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+44 (0)20 7280 4350

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