BREATHE - Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health


BREATHE impact on health data research recognised with Milestone 2 success

BREATHE – The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health, has successfully passed its second milestone recognising its significant impact on health data research in the UK.

Since launching in October 2019, seven Health Data Research Hubs have demonstrated that their uniquely collaborative, cross-sector and fast-paced method of working delivers results that make a difference to patients’ lives. Led by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), in the past year the Hubs have also pivoted to support the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling research in areas such as infection rates, vaccine rollout, and understanding the impact of COVID-19 on specific disease areas.

The Hubs reached the second milestone assessment in March 2021, 18 months after launching, where they were required to demonstrate their impact so far. After a rigorous process involving an independent panel, all seven Hubs passed the assessment, each demonstrating clear evidence that they had made significant impact on health data science in the UK. The Hubs have developed unique models of partnership and collaboration that bring together datasets and make them available to academic and industry groups wishing to conduct research in a trustworthy way.


The Hubs’ approach includes putting patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) at the heart of their work. Over the past 18 months, the Hubs have delivered over 20,000 meaningful patient interactions, and have PPIE embedded in their governance, decision making and ensure patient and public ideas and concerns are heard.

Over 100 cross-sector partners are involved across the seven Hubs, which have delivered over 300 projects so far since their launch in 2019 and made 157 datasets available for vital research via the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway. Hub data is being used by NHS, public health, academic and industry researchers.


The seven Hubs have made a significant impact in the UK response to the pandemic. BREATHE supported the rapid set-up of EAVE II, a national COVID-19 surveillance platform covering the entire Scottish population. This involved linking data from 940 general practices to testing, vaccination, hospitalisation, intensive care unit, and mortality data to create the world’s only end-to-end national COVID-19 platform. Through this landmark study, BREATHE was able to report the first national estimates on the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in reducing COVID-19 hospitalisations.

Full details of the work the Hubs have achieved so far is available via HDR UK’s report “Improving Health Data: Impacts from Health Data Research Hubs”. With a further eighteen months of funding across the programme, the Hubs will continue to support health data research in the UK and beyond.

It is fantastic to see the impact the Hubs are already having, both for patients and for the life sciences industry in the UK, and it’s a testament to the unique approach the Hubs have taken, as cross-sector consortia working at pace, with patient and public involvement at their core.

Ben GordonExecutive Director for Hubs and Data Improvement at Health Data Research UK

For more information

Read the full report from HDR UK

Improving Health Data: Impacts from Health Data Research Hubs