In New Zealand and globally, the leading cause of death in intensive care units is organ failure, for which there is no specific and effective treatment. Our multidisciplinary research team has designed a cohesive series of laboratory and clinical studies to better understand and model the role of lymphatic dysfunction in driving organ failure. Based on sound preliminary data, innovative devices and drugs will be optimised and tested with the aim of improving lymphatic flow (to reduce tissue swelling) and reducing lymph toxicity (to reduce inflammation and organ failure). Data from these studies will inform the design of future definitive clinical trials and commercialisation, which are necessary for improved clinical outcomes and health service delivery/policy. Those most at risk, including Māori, will benefit long-term from the reduced risk of organ failure and death from acute and critical illness.