summary Clarifying the existing evidence base is crucial to improve the effectiveness of transfusion practice. The UK Systematic Review Initiative has been pursuing this objective primarily through writing systematic reviews on important topics in transfusion medicine. Here, we describe our progress for the past 5 years. We are the only research group that identifies transfusion medicine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and to date, we have contributed 3002 RCT citations. The article considers future challenges including the need for wider involvement from the transfusion medicine community in the process of maintaining and updating systematic reviews and the identification and prioritization of topics for further clinical research including clinical trials. Collaboration between international and local research groups is important if these challenges are to be met.