Health data: first UK snapshot review of research activity and key investments


Mapping the Landscape of UK Health Data Research and Innovation is a new landmark report published today by the Medical Research Council. The report highlights the complex and flourishing area of health data research in the UK, detailing key activities and major investments made by UK public funders, government, charities and universities from across the country.

Commissioned in 2017, the review provides a unique window into major investments made by 26 research organisations, and informed the establishment of the new national institute - Health Data Research UK– whose mission is to make game-changing improvements in the health of patients and populations through data science research and innovation. The report acts as an important benchmark to help inform funder strategy, prevent duplication of effort and encourage collaboration in the informatics sector, both within the field and for external stakeholders.

Dr Rob Buckle, Chief Science Officer at the Medical Research Council said: “This report is snapshot of activity at a particular point in time in a very fast moving sector but is a great resource for organisations looking to fund, research or collaborate in this area. It will help stop us reinventing the wheel, plug research gaps and inform an ambitious future research strategy.

"What’s more, it highlights what a diverse and exciting area health data research is. This sector is thriving and in addition to its importance for promoting health and wellbeing, has huge potential to help deliver the UK Industrial Strategy, making the UK a global leader of the industries of the future.”

Every day, more data than ever before is being generated about our lives. Allowing researchers to examine health data safely and securely could hold the key to unlocking treatments and preventing a whole host of diseases. But the sector needs specialist research expertise and cutting edge analytical methods to make sense of both the volume and complexity of information. This report, prepared by the MRC, highlights the significant growth in this area of research, from multimillion pound investments in institutes dedicated to data analysis, to interdisciplinary collaborations, partnerships and training programmes - the depth and breadth of activity is striking. 

This is a transformational time for the health data research community, with a multitude of players all over the world. The UK not only has a tremendous wealth and variety of health data but also a real strength in analytical skills. This report reveals that the UK has a very real opportunity to be a global leader in health data research and by harnessing this potential could yield huge benefits for our nation’s health and wealth.

Read more on the HDR UK website

To read more information, click here.

The Medical Research Council has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.

MRC [Medical Research Council]