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About the Vascular Priority Setting Partnership


Why set priorities for vascular research?

Vascular disease is the collective term for diseases of the veins and arteries. Every part of the body to which blood flows can be affected by it.

It's as common as cancer and heart disease and accounts for 40% of deaths in the UK and estimated health and care costs of £9 billion.

Despite ongoing research activity in the UK and other countries, there are still many questions about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease that remain unanswered.

However, funding is highly competitive and resources are increasingly limited, which means that researchers and policy makers need to know where best to focus their efforts in order to maximise impact on health outcomes.

What are the benefits of a priority setting process?

Priority setting processes (PSPs) can help to address this issue by systematically identifying gaps in evidence and establishing recommendations for research priorities.

The James Lind Alliance is internationally recognised as an authoritative and independent organisation to guide this work and produce an unbiased result. They specialise in bringing together patient and clinician voices and give equal weighting to the views of the different groups.

Patients and carers across the UK are closest to the conditions and living with the effects every day. They have valuable insight to share.

Here at Hull York Medical School, our Clinical Sciences Centre manage the work of the Vascular Priority Setting Partnership and specifically lead the following national sub-specialty interest groups: Vascular access (Mr George Smith), venous (Mr Dan Carradice), and wounds (Professor Ian Chetter).

85% of research investment is wasted when the needs of users of research are ignored

Chalmers I, Glasziou P. Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence. Lancet. 2009;374(9683):86-9.

Priority setting process

How did the Vascular Priority Setting Partnership agree the priorities?

The Vascular Priority Setting Partnership publication (PDF) has been published and details the background, methodology and results of the Vascular PSP in full. A summary of the process is provided here (PDF) and outlined below.

The Vascular PSP was undertaken in three main phases;

  1. Delphi Survey: an initial Delphi survey to gather the opinions of vascular health care professionals about their research priorities.
  2. A James Lind Alliance (JLA) survey to gather the opinions of vascular patients and carers about their research priorities.
  3. Final workshops to bring together patient and healthcare professional priorities to jointly agree research priorities.

Phase one: clinician Delphi survey summary

The aim was to survey the opinions of vascular health care professionals, to identify and rank research priorities using a modified Delphi methodology.

A full description of this phase of the project has been published:

G E Smith, J Long, T Wallace, D Carradice, I C Chetter, Vascular Research Collaborative , Identifying the research priorities of healthcare professionals in UK vascular surgery: modified Delphi approach, BJS Open, Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2021, zraa025,

Phase two: patient and carer survey with the James Lind Alliance

Following the success of the vascular health care professional Delphi survey, the Vascular Priority Setting Partnership worked in collaboration with the James Lind Alliance to identify and score patients and carers research priorities.

1. Vascular Priority Setting Partnership Steering Group

The Steering Group (PDF) is made up of representatives from vascular health care professions, service users and carers. This group agrees the plan of action, scope and takes responsibility for the PSP.

2. Gathering priorities

We ran a survey inviting anyone with a vascular condition, their carers or family to submit research priorities.

3. Establishing Special Interest Groups

The term vascular covers such a broad range of conditions, we established Special Interest Groups to help support and promote the project in these areas, ensuring different types of vascular condition were fairly represented throughout this process.

Each SIG has its own membership comprising allied health professionals (surgeons, nurses, radiologists, technologists, trainees, physiotherapists) and patients.

4. Sorting the responses and evidence checking

With oversight from the steering group, a team from the Vascular Research Group sorted all the priorities and worked with the Special Interest Groups to group the responses into vascular condition areas.

The long list of summary questions were checked against existing research evidence to ensure they were true uncertainties. Any priorities that were already answered by research were removed.

Overarching summary priorities were agreed and put forward to the next round of survey for scoring.

5. Scoring priorities

We ran a second survey and invited patients and carers to select their vascular area/s of interest and to score the priorities within this area using a Likert scale (Extremely Important to Not at all Important or Don’t know).

Phase three: final Special Interest Groups workshops

Final prioritisation workshops took place between January and September 2021. The nine Special Interest Groups held individual workshops to agree on their 'top ten' list of research priorities.

Following James Lind Alliance recommendations, work was undertaken by each Special Interest Group in advance to agree on a final combined shortlist of clinician and patient priorities to be discussed at the workshops. Where clinician priorities and patient priorities overlapped, the patient priority was put forward.

Due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19, face-to-face workshops were not possible, however the James Lind Alliance adapted their process to deliver the workshops online via Zoom. Each workshop was facilitated by the Vascular Priority Setting Partnership lead James Lind Alliance advisor and followed the James Lind Alliance methodology, using a Nominal Group Technique to generate discussion, ranking, consensus and agreement.


The work has resulted in a ranked list of the top 10 most important research priorities for each Special Interest Group.

Vascular patients and healthcare professionals should now advocate these research priorities, helping to direct funding into areas of upmost need and greatest impact. For more information, please visit the NIHR James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships rolling call.


Identifying research priorities

J, Long, I Chetter, Gronland T, and The Vascular PSP Steering Group. The Vascular Priority Setting Partnership: Setting the Agenda for UK Vascular Research November 2021. (J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel: November 2021 2021).

Smith, G. E., J. Long, T. Wallace, D. Carradice, and I. C. Chetter. "Identifying the Research Priorities of Healthcare Professionals in UK Vascular Surgery: Modified Delphi Approach." [In English]. BJS open 5, no. 2 (2021).

Special interest groups

Access: De Siqueira, JR, CA Fielding, GJ Pettigrew, MG Robson, SK Rogers, K Steiner, W Withers, et al. "Defining Priorities in Vascular Access Research." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel. 1, no. 2 (February 23, 2022 2022): 30-33.

Amputation: Bosanquet, D, S Nandhra, K Wong, J Long, I Chetter, and R Hinchliffe. "Research Priorities for Lower Limb Amputation in Patients with Vascular Disease." Journal of Vascular Societies Great Britain and Ireland 1, no. 1 (November 24, 2021 2021): 11-16.

Aortic: Lawson, JA, MJ Bown, CD Bicknell, J Long, and TA Gronlund. "Research Priorities for Aortic Diseases: Results of the James Lind Alliance/Vascular Society Gbi Priority Setting Exercise." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel. 1, no. 2 (February 16, 2022 2022): 34-41.

Carotid: Mei Nortley, A Halliday, R Bulbulia, J Long, T Gronlund, and DPJ Howard. "Research Priorities for Carotid Conditions; Results of the Uk Vascular James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Process.". J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel 2, no. 3 (April 20, 2023 2022): 134-40.

Diabetic foot: Collings R, Shalhoub J, Atkin L, Game F, Hitchman L, Long J, Gronland T, and Russell D. "Research Priorities in Diabetic Foot Disease." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel. 4 (July 4, 2022 2022): 124-29.

Peripheral Arterial Disease: Pymer, S, AE Harwood, J Long, IC Chetter, A Saratzis, and P Coughlin. "Research Priorities for Patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease: A James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel. 1, no. 2 (February 11, 2022 2022): 23-29.

Services: Long, J, T Gronlund, and J Michaels. "Research Priorities for Vascular Services; Results of the UK Vascular James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Process." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel 2, no. 1 (November 21, 2022 2022): 33-40

Venous: Long, J, L Atkin, Gronlund, Lane T, S Nandhra, E Wilton, D Carradice, and on behalf of the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland Venous Special Interest Group. "Research Priorities for Venous Conditions; Results of the Uk Vascular James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Process.". J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel 2, no. 1 (November 21, 2022 2022): 26-32.

Wounds: Long J, Lathan R, Sidapra M, Gronlund T, Chetter IC. "Research Priorities for Vascular Wounds: Results of the Vascular Society Gbi/James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Process." J.Vasc.Soc.G.B.Irel. 1, no. 4 (May 19, 2022 2022): 110-16.

Contact us

The priorities are freely available to be researched and we hope they will provide useful guidance to those who are considering funding applications, research strategies or campaign work. We encourage anyone interested to let us know how you intend to use these priorities.