Childhood mortality and morbidity are greatest in the perinatal period. Babies most at risk are those born preterm or with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), numbering over 8,000 per annum in New Zealand. Both the predisposing condition and the postnatal experiences of these babies, including nutrition, growth and the management of common complications, have life-long consequences for health and well-being. Although most of these babies will survive with modern perinatal care, many of the problems they face do not have established treatments, or the treatment is not based on robust evidence. There is, thus, substantial opportunity for evidence-based care to improve outcomes, both in the perinatal period and for lifelong health, whilst also reducing costs. Our aim in this programme of research is to seize this opportunity to advance the evidence-base for best practice in perinatal care.