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Queen Mary celebrates successful bid for Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Science: Health Data in Practice

Academics from Queen Mary University of London have been awarded £5.5 million to deliver an innovative ‘Health Data in Practice' PhD Programme, with the first intake of students planned for October 2020.

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Doctor consulting patient
Doctor consulting patient

The availability, scale and depth of data collected in the course of health care is creating a paradigm shift in the experience and delivery of care. But machine learning and other automated methods of data analysis will only provide useful insights for health and care if we understand health data in practice: how data is actually generated, interpreted and used.

Led from the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health within the School of Medicine and Dentistry, this programme brings together more than 40 leading academics from all three academic faculties at Queen Mary and will support 30 PhD students over the next five years.

Carol Dezateux, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Data Science, will direct the programme together with Sandra Eldridge, Professor of Biostatistics, Deborah Swinglehurst, Professor of Primary Care, and Patrick Healey, Professor of Human Interaction from the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences. The four programme leads are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and interdisciplinary scholarship and to developing research leaders equipped to embrace a human-centred approach to data use in health care practice.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Carol Dezateux said: “This is an exciting opportunity to train the next generation of research leaders who will work with patients and clinicians to understand how data can be used to improve patient experience and outcomes and to transform health care. Our programme draws on our close partnership with the NHS and our commitment to improving the health of our local population. It is also closely aligned with Queen Mary’s Strategy 2030 mission and core values, and its commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity.”

A broad perspective and skillset

Our programme will equip students with a wider perspective than is often available in PhD programmes by encouraging them to draw on a range of concepts, disciplines and sciences in real-world health care settings across diverse populations. The programme will enable them to access expertise in areas ranging from pragmatic clinical trials and epidemiology to human interactions and decision-making.

Professor Steve Thornton, Vice Principal (Health) and Executive Dean at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for the School of Medicine and Dentistry and for Queen Mary more broadly. This is testimony to the strengths we exhibit in the field of health data science which is fundamental to realising the research vision of Barts Life Sciences. Developing both academic and professional expertise in this field will be essential in meeting the needs of our population and the rapidly changing health economy and in creating a clinical research environment that can realise the potential of innovations in health data science for the benefit of patients, the public, health care systems and society”.

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