Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeHealth & Fitness£70M Awarded to Transform Potential of UK Health Data

£70M Awarded to Transform Potential of UK Health Data


We’re among nine organisations who together are awarding more than £70 million funding to Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) for the next five years. 

HDR UK is the national institute for health data science. It works with the NHS and partners in universities, charities, industry and regulators in bringing the UK’s health data together to make discoveries that improve people’s lives. 

The funding will support HDR UK’s work to accelerate trustworthy access to health data and improve treatments, deliver better health care and save lives. It will help to tackle some of the biggest global health crises, including heart and circulatory diseases, cancer and diabetes, and could speed up and reshape approaches to research. 

Health Data Research UK hosts the BHF Data Science Centre, which launched in 2020 following a £10 million investment from us. 

The centre works with a wide range of partners including patients, public, clinicians, researchers and NHS organisations to help them carry out research using health data into the causes, prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases (such heart attacks, stroke and vascular dementia). 

What is data science? 

Data about our health is collected every time we visit our doctor or go to the hospital. 

This can include our height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, health conditions, and any medications we take. This data is vital to help doctors to understand more about our health.  

But, when it’s looked at on a larger scale – across thousands and even millions of people – this data can reveal patterns about health and disease that would otherwise be invisible. 

These can help to understand why we develop health conditions, improve diagnosis, develop and monitor the safety of new treatments or medicines, and improve our healthcare system. 

The power of data in healthcare came into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic, when HDR UK’s work helped to support our understanding of the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine in the real-world, and provided reassurance on the risks of potential side effects. 

Just the beginning 

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, our Medical Director, said: “The first five years of Health Data Research UK has brought incredible progress in heart and circulatory diseases research. The access to large-scale health data they enable has been priceless for many researchers looking into the prevention and treatment of the world’s biggest killers.  

“Health data will define the next era of research, but we are only just beginning to tap into its power to accelerate discoveries. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with HDR UK, building on the momentum of the last five years to produce real improvement for patients.” 

The other funding partners are the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates, Health and Care Research Wales, and Health & Social Care R&D in Northern Ireland. 

Source: British Heart Foundation

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