Cambridge is amongst six sites across the UK to be awarded a total of £30M funding by Health Data Research UK, to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science.
The Wellcome Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Cambridge achieved funding for the Cambridge site due to their world-class expertise and track record in using health data to derive new knowledge, scientific discovery and insight.
Each of the six sites already work in close partnership with NHS bodies and the public to translate research findings into benefits for patients and populations. From April this year, the 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.
The successful Health Data Research UK sites are:
- Cambridge – Wellcome Sanger Institute, European Bioinformatics Institute, University of Cambridge
- London – UCL, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- Midlands – University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford – University of Oxford
- Scotland – University of Edinburgh, University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of St Andrews, University of Strathclyde
- Wales/Northern Ireland – Swansea University, Queen’s University Belfast
Each site’s research organisations will receive long-term funding awards and will become part of a collaborative research community working together to deliver the priorities of Health Data Research UK. This initial funding is awarded following a rigorous application process, which included interviews with an international panel of experts.
“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 and research institutes, 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.”
Professor Andrew Morris, Director 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.
Health Data Research UK is committed to the highest ethical standards and will work with experts in public engagement to ensure the public voice is central to its activity. It will work at scale and forge national and international partnerships to deliver:
- New scientific discovery
- A vibrant training environment for the next generation of data scientists
- The creation of a trustworthy UK-wide research and innovation ecosystem for health data research.
“We are extremely pleased that Cambridge has been recognised as a pivotal site for health data research in the UK. This award will further enable us to combine large scale genomic and health data to transform medical research and to help improve health.”
Professor John Danesh, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, and Associate Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
“Analysing patient data available in routine healthcare records and combining it with molecular data generated by researchers, gives us unprecedented opportunities to discover the biological underpinnings of different diseases, especially those aspects of disease that patients and their doctors really care about. By understanding the biological underpinning of disease, we will be able to diagnose patients and identify therapies that are most likely to work for them much more effectively.” Dr Matthew Hurles, Head of Human Genetics and Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
‘Our three-way partnership between the Sanger Institute, EMBL-EBI and University of Cambridge is a great example of how strategic partnerships expand our science and enable us to build upon long term investments in informatics and infrastructure. The Wellcome Genome Campus is the natural UK home to site the genomic hub of HDR UK, and this funding provides a wonderful opportunity to further our collaborative work using large scale genomic data to improve people’s health.
Dr Julia Wilson, Associate Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
Health Data Research UK is a joint investment co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council, working in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Welsh Government), Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland), Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, and Wellcome.
For further details, please visit the Health Data Research UK website.