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Irene Higginson

Professor Irene Higginson OBE

Executive Dean, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

  • Founding Professor, Cicely Saunders Institute for Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation
  • Professor of Palliative Care & Policy

Research interests

  • Palliative care

Biography

Professor Irene Higginson, OBE, is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care and leads the Faculty's academic and strategic direction. She is Professor of Palliative Care & Policy, Founding Professor of the Cicely Saunders Institute, Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine, NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigator and Fellow of the Academy of Sciences. 

She is dual-trained and registered in palliative medicine and public health medicine. Professor Higginson is active in research and education and in the top 1% of highly cited academics. She teaches MSc, medical and PhD students. Through her current research programmes, she investigates treatments, symptom management, access and services in palliative care. She has published over 700 articles in peer-reviewed journals, plus several books. 

Professor Higginson is Scientific Director for the charity Cicely Saunders International. Her research has pioneered better ways to measure outcomes and quality of life, evaluate palliative care especially new services and interventions, epidemiology, effectiveness, psychosocial care, symptom assessment, breathlessness, cachexia/anorexia, and multi-morbidity.

Research interests

Quality of life and outcome measurements; evaluation of palliative care especially of new services and interventions; epidemiology; effectiveness; psychosocial care; symptom assessment; breathlessness; cachexia/anorexia; multi-morbidity; COVID-19

Research profile

    Research

    girl with family childrens hospital balloons csi  780x450
    CPOS: Children’s Palliative care Outcome Scale

    C-POS will be a person-centred outcome measure to be used by children, young people and families affected by life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

    Project status: Ongoing

    Breathlessness woman holding chest csi 780x450
    Better Treatments for Refractory Breathlessness

    Better Treatments for Refractory Breathlessness (BETTER-B) aims to improve the lives of people with severe breathlessness.

    Project status: Completed

    data networking csi project 780x450
    Big & Routine Data-Based Palliative & End of Life Care Research

    The big data research projects include a range of research studies using large-scale routinely collected datasets to explore various end-of-life outcomes.

    Project status: Ongoing

    frail hands elderly lady csi project 780x450
    International Access Rights & Empowerment II

    IARE II is an observational study of frail older people who do not have access to specialist palliative care services.

    Project status: Ongoing

    elderly man in wheelchair looking out window csi project 780x450 (9)
    Better End of Life Project

    Understanding experiences of dying, death, and bereavement in the UK, and compelling local and national policy-makers to act to improve people’s experiences.

    Project status: Ongoing

    dementia older lady reminder red string on finger csi project 780x450
    Understanding Factors that Influence End-of-Life Decisions in Older Adults with Dementia

    Investigating the systems-level factors that contribute to burdensome end-of-life care in older adults with dementia.

    Project status: Ongoing

    hospital emergency room uk elderly man wheelchair csi project 780x450
    Understanding Factors that Influence Why People with Dementia Make Transitions from the Community to Acute Hospital Care Settings in the Last Months of Life

    Utilising routine data to understand why people with dementia move between healthcare settings in the months preceding their death.

    Project status: Ongoing

    nurse talking to cancer patient csi project 780x450
    Understanding the Impact of Community Health & Social Care Services on Hospitalisation in the Last Months of Life

    Examining primary and community health care and hospital admissions among people with cancer in their last 90 days of life.

    Project status: Ongoing

    couple talking to nurse csi project 780x450
    Methods for Researching End of Life Care - Processes of consent

    Methods for Researching End of Life Care (MORECare) is developing best practice guidance and processes of consent for adults lacking capacity.

    Project status: Completed

    older man consultation csi project 780x450
    Managing Care for Adults During Clinical Uncertainty in Community Hospitals

    Development and feasibility evaluation of a new Symptom & Psychosocial Assessment & Communication Evaluation (SPACE) tool.

    Project status: Ongoing

    News

    Professor Vibhu Paudyal appointed new Professor of Health Services Research & Inequalities

    Vibhu Paudyal, a leading researcher and educator in inclusion health has been appointed Professor of Health Services Research & Inequalities within the...

    A professional headshot of Professor Vibhu Paudyal against a white background

    Celebrating NMPC staff and student success for International Women's Day 2024

    To celebrate IWD 2024, in Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care we're celebrating the impact and successes of women in the Faculty.

    NMPC IWD 2024 (3)

    Professor Irene Higginson named #30 in top UK female scientist rankings

    The leading academic research portal, Research.com has announced its list of Top Female Sciences in 2023.

    Professor Irene Higginson

    King's academics make the Best Female Scientists in the World 2023 Ranking

    Five scientists from King’s have been ranked as some of the top female scientists in the world for this year by Research.com.

    Professor Francesca Happe, Professor Janet Treasure, Professor Lucilla Poston, Professor Irene Higginson and Professor Cathryn Lewis

    Cicely Saunders International welcomes new Life President and Chair

    John McGrath has stepped down as Chair and Trustee to become a Life President of Cicely Saunders International, alongside former Trustee Christopher Saunders....

    Kate Kirk and John McGrath

    Academic promotions in Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

    Eight academics in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care have been awarded promotions during the 2022-23 year.

    King's College London flag

    Professor Eduardo Bruera awarded Fellowship of King's College

    Professor Eduardo Bruera MD FAAHPM has been awarded a Fellowship of King’s in recognition of his exceptional contribution to King’s

    Professor Irene Higginson and Professor Eduardo Bruera

    Nursing at King's ranked #2 in the world for fifth year in a row

    According to global higher education analysts QS in their latest World University Rankings by Subject.

    Top 10 QS subject ranking for Nursing 2023

    King's welcomes The Princess Royal to campus

    The Cicely Saunders Institute (CSI) at King’s, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care (NMPC) welcomed Her Royal Highness The...

    HRH at King's

    Patient survey reveals preference and economic cost of breathlessness services

    A new study has examined patient preferences for breathlessness services and determined the cost savings of these provisions for the NHS.

    ventilator

    Events

    24Marnurse

    Perseverance Trust Nightingale Fellowship Lecture 2022

    This annual online lecture features talks from our staff, students and Nightingale Fellowship Award winners.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    05Novcovid-19 patient in bed male ventilator csi project 780x450

    Cicely Saunders International Annual Lecture 2020

    Palliative care in an era of COVID-19: Perspectives from three continents

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    Navigating the NHS, present and future: how might an incoming government respond?

    Ahead of the general election PROFESSOR IRENE HIGGINSON looks at how the NHS can move forward, from failings and criticisms and into a better future.

    NHS sign

    Spotlight

    Transforming the management of breathlessness in advanced illness

    The drug-free support helping people cope with breathlessness

    Illustration of ideas for breathlessness research

    • MSc in Palliative Care: Applying Epidemiology in Palliative Care (7MMPAC08)
    • Research Methods & Statistics in Palliative Care (7MMPAC01)
    • PhD Supervision - open to taking PhD students in the areas of interest above;  active programme of supervising a small number of students as first supervisor. 

      Research

      girl with family childrens hospital balloons csi  780x450
      CPOS: Children’s Palliative care Outcome Scale

      C-POS will be a person-centred outcome measure to be used by children, young people and families affected by life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

      Project status: Ongoing

      Breathlessness woman holding chest csi 780x450
      Better Treatments for Refractory Breathlessness

      Better Treatments for Refractory Breathlessness (BETTER-B) aims to improve the lives of people with severe breathlessness.

      Project status: Completed

      data networking csi project 780x450
      Big & Routine Data-Based Palliative & End of Life Care Research

      The big data research projects include a range of research studies using large-scale routinely collected datasets to explore various end-of-life outcomes.

      Project status: Ongoing

      frail hands elderly lady csi project 780x450
      International Access Rights & Empowerment II

      IARE II is an observational study of frail older people who do not have access to specialist palliative care services.

      Project status: Ongoing

      elderly man in wheelchair looking out window csi project 780x450 (9)
      Better End of Life Project

      Understanding experiences of dying, death, and bereavement in the UK, and compelling local and national policy-makers to act to improve people’s experiences.

      Project status: Ongoing

      dementia older lady reminder red string on finger csi project 780x450
      Understanding Factors that Influence End-of-Life Decisions in Older Adults with Dementia

      Investigating the systems-level factors that contribute to burdensome end-of-life care in older adults with dementia.

      Project status: Ongoing

      hospital emergency room uk elderly man wheelchair csi project 780x450
      Understanding Factors that Influence Why People with Dementia Make Transitions from the Community to Acute Hospital Care Settings in the Last Months of Life

      Utilising routine data to understand why people with dementia move between healthcare settings in the months preceding their death.

      Project status: Ongoing

      nurse talking to cancer patient csi project 780x450
      Understanding the Impact of Community Health & Social Care Services on Hospitalisation in the Last Months of Life

      Examining primary and community health care and hospital admissions among people with cancer in their last 90 days of life.

      Project status: Ongoing

      couple talking to nurse csi project 780x450
      Methods for Researching End of Life Care - Processes of consent

      Methods for Researching End of Life Care (MORECare) is developing best practice guidance and processes of consent for adults lacking capacity.

      Project status: Completed

      older man consultation csi project 780x450
      Managing Care for Adults During Clinical Uncertainty in Community Hospitals

      Development and feasibility evaluation of a new Symptom & Psychosocial Assessment & Communication Evaluation (SPACE) tool.

      Project status: Ongoing

      News

      Professor Vibhu Paudyal appointed new Professor of Health Services Research & Inequalities

      Vibhu Paudyal, a leading researcher and educator in inclusion health has been appointed Professor of Health Services Research & Inequalities within the...

      A professional headshot of Professor Vibhu Paudyal against a white background

      Celebrating NMPC staff and student success for International Women's Day 2024

      To celebrate IWD 2024, in Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care we're celebrating the impact and successes of women in the Faculty.

      NMPC IWD 2024 (3)

      Professor Irene Higginson named #30 in top UK female scientist rankings

      The leading academic research portal, Research.com has announced its list of Top Female Sciences in 2023.

      Professor Irene Higginson

      King's academics make the Best Female Scientists in the World 2023 Ranking

      Five scientists from King’s have been ranked as some of the top female scientists in the world for this year by Research.com.

      Professor Francesca Happe, Professor Janet Treasure, Professor Lucilla Poston, Professor Irene Higginson and Professor Cathryn Lewis

      Cicely Saunders International welcomes new Life President and Chair

      John McGrath has stepped down as Chair and Trustee to become a Life President of Cicely Saunders International, alongside former Trustee Christopher Saunders....

      Kate Kirk and John McGrath

      Academic promotions in Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

      Eight academics in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care have been awarded promotions during the 2022-23 year.

      King's College London flag

      Professor Eduardo Bruera awarded Fellowship of King's College

      Professor Eduardo Bruera MD FAAHPM has been awarded a Fellowship of King’s in recognition of his exceptional contribution to King’s

      Professor Irene Higginson and Professor Eduardo Bruera

      Nursing at King's ranked #2 in the world for fifth year in a row

      According to global higher education analysts QS in their latest World University Rankings by Subject.

      Top 10 QS subject ranking for Nursing 2023

      King's welcomes The Princess Royal to campus

      The Cicely Saunders Institute (CSI) at King’s, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care (NMPC) welcomed Her Royal Highness The...

      HRH at King's

      Patient survey reveals preference and economic cost of breathlessness services

      A new study has examined patient preferences for breathlessness services and determined the cost savings of these provisions for the NHS.

      ventilator

      Events

      24Marnurse

      Perseverance Trust Nightingale Fellowship Lecture 2022

      This annual online lecture features talks from our staff, students and Nightingale Fellowship Award winners.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      05Novcovid-19 patient in bed male ventilator csi project 780x450

      Cicely Saunders International Annual Lecture 2020

      Palliative care in an era of COVID-19: Perspectives from three continents

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      Navigating the NHS, present and future: how might an incoming government respond?

      Ahead of the general election PROFESSOR IRENE HIGGINSON looks at how the NHS can move forward, from failings and criticisms and into a better future.

      NHS sign

      Spotlight

      Transforming the management of breathlessness in advanced illness

      The drug-free support helping people cope with breathlessness

      Illustration of ideas for breathlessness research
      • MSc in Palliative Care: Applying Epidemiology in Palliative Care (7MMPAC08)
      • Research Methods & Statistics in Palliative Care (7MMPAC01)
      • PhD Supervision - open to taking PhD students in the areas of interest above;  active programme of supervising a small number of students as first supervisor.