Usher Institute

Funding set to transform health through data science

Health Data Research UK have announced £54 million of funding to transform health through data science.

The University of Edinburgh will lead the new Health Data Research UK Scotland site, it has been announced. 

£30 million of funding from Health Data Research UK is to be spread across a total of six sites in the UK to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science. Professor Cathie Sudlow, Head of the Centre of Medical Informatics at the Usher Institute will lead the Scotland site, working with partners in the University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of St Andrews and University of Strathclyde. Other sites will be located in Cambridge, London, The Midlands, Oxford and Wales/Northern Ireland.

It is anticipated that by harnessing data science at scale across the UK there can be considerable improvements in the health of patients and populations.   

I am extremely pleased to be leading the Health Data Research UK Scotland site. This capitalises on our world-leading health and informatics research capabilities and Scotland’s exceptional data assets. This major award from Health Data Research UK gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate collaborative working across Scotland to capitalise on the huge potential of data science in health. This announcement aligns with investment in the Edinburgh City Deal, which aims to make Edinburgh the data science capital of Europe. This will place us in an excellent position to lead the Scotland site of this new collaborative research community.

Professor Cathie SudlowHead of Centre for Medical Informatics and Personal Chair of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology

Each site has world-class expertise; a track record in using health data to derive new knowledge, scientific discovery and insight; and works in close partnership with NHS bodies and the public to translate research findings into benefits for patients and populations. From April this year, the six sites will work collaboratively as foundation partners in Health Data Research UK to make game-changing improvements in people’s health by harnessing data science at scale across the UK.

I am delighted to make today’s announcement, which marks the start of a unique opportunity for scientists, researchers and clinicians to use their collective expertise to transform the health of the population. 

The six HDR UK sites, comprising 22 universities, research and NHS organisations, have tremendous individual strengths and will form a solid foundation for our long-term ambition.  By working together and with NHS and industry partners to the highest ethical standards, our vision is to harness data science on a national scale. This will unleash the potential for data and technologies to drive breakthroughs in medical research, improving the way we are able to prevent, detect and diagnose diseases like cancer, heart disease and asthma. 

I am grateful to our funders who recognise the importance of collaboration at scale, and the pivotal contribution of health data research to the UK’s ambition to be a global leader in life sciences, for health and economic benefit.

Professor Andrew MorrisDirector of Health Data Research UK

This is the first phase of investment to establish Health Data Research UK.  A further £24 million will be invested in upcoming activities, including a Future Talent Programme and work to address targeted data research challenges through additional partnership sites.

For further details, please visit the Health Data Research UK website.

More information about Health Data Research UK is available on the MRC website.