Purpose: To develop internationally harmonised standards for programmes of training in intensive care medicine (ICM). Methods: Standards were developed by using consensus techniques. A nine-member nominal group of European intensive care experts developed a preliminary set of standards. These were revised and refined through a modified Delphi process involving 28 European national coordinators representing national training organisations using a combination of moderated discussion meetings, email, and a Web-based tool for determining the level of agreement with each proposed standard, and whether the standard could be achieved in the respondent's country. Results: The nominal group developed an initial set of 52 possible standards which underwent four iterations to achieve maximal consensus. All national coordinators approved a final set of 29 standards in four domains: training centres, training programmes, selection of trainees, and trainers' profiles. Only three standards were considered immediately achievable by all countries, demonstrating a willingness to aspire to quality rather than merely setting a minimum level. Nine proposed standards which did not achieve full consensus were identified as potential candidates for future review. Conclusions: This preliminary set of clearly defined and agreed standards provides a transparent framework for assuring the quality of training programmes, and a foundation for international harmonisation and quality improvement of training in ICM.