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£54 million award to transform health through data science

Queen Mary University of London has partnered with four other London universities - UCL, Imperial College London, King's College London and The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine - in a new initiative to transform health through data science.

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The pan London partnership has been chosen as a foundation site of the new national institute Health Data Research UK.

Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK) is initially awarding £30 million funding to six sites across the UK, including London, to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science. A further £24 million will be invested in upcoming activities.

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.

The individual 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. 

Improving the long term health of local communities

The pan London partnership comprises a strong team of Directors from Queen Mary University of London (Professor David van Heel), UCL (Professor Harry Hemingway), Imperial (Professor Paul Elliott), King’s College London (Professor Tim Hubbard), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Liam Smeeth).

Scientific investigators at Queen Mary come from the Blizard Institute (David van Heel, Carol Dezateux, Sandra Eldridge, John Robson), the William Harvey Research Institute (Mike Barnes, Steffen Petersen), and Barts Cancer Institute (Claude Chelala).

Professor David van Heel, Director at Queen Mary of the pan London HDR-UK site said: “Health Data Research UK represents a huge opportunity to build on our strengths at Queen Mary in e-health data research and human genomics, to help improve the long term health of our local communities, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Professor Steve Thornton, Vice Principal (Health) at Queen Mary said: “HDR UK represents a once in a generation opportunity to work across London to improve health through data science. I am pleased we have harnessed Queen Mary leadership in this area and convinced that our new pan London collaborative partnership will allow us to solve more science problems and generate more benefits to patients than we could have done by working separately.”

Working with the NHS and industry partners to the highest ethical standards

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, commented: “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. 

“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.”

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.

The initiative is a joint investment co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council, working in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, the Department of Health and Social Care (England), 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), Scottish Ministers acting through their Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, and Wellcome.

The other successful sites are:

  • Cambridge – Wellcome Sanger Institute, European Bioinformatics Institute, University of Cambridge.
  • Midlands – University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick.
  • 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.

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