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King's to help transform health through data science following £54 million award

Posted on 07/02/2018

King's College London has been chosen as a foundation partner of a new national institute Health Data Research UK. King’s will join UCL, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in a collaborative partnership of five London universities.

Health Data Research UK is initially awarding £30 million funding to six sites across the UK to address challenginghealthcare issues throughuse of data science.

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.

From April this year, the six 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. 

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.

Professor Tim Hubbard, HDR London site Director, King’s College London said: ‘This collaborative partnership will herald a new and exciting era in healthcare that will combine the knowledge and skills of London's leading universities, the NHS and industrial partners to generate more benefits for patients more quickly.

‘I’m excited that King’s College London will be working with London’s other best universities in health data science as part of HDR UK, alongside Directors from UCL (Professor Harry Hemingway), Imperial (Professor Paul Elliott), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Liam Smeeth) and Queen Mary University of London (Professor David van Heel).’

Scientific investigators at King's College London are Richard Dobson, Vasa Curcin, Robert Stewart, Sean Beevers, Martin Gulliford, Matthew Hotopf, Tim Hubbard, Frank Kelly, Sabine Landau, Cathryn Lewis, Julia Schnabel, Michael Simpson, Tim Spector, Daniel Stahl and Charles Wolfe.

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. 

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. 

‘The six HDR UK sites, comprising 22 universities, research and NHS organisations, 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. 

‘I am grateful to our funders who recognise the importance of collaboration at scale, and the pivotal contribution of health data research to the UK’s ambition to be a global leader in life sciences, for health and economic benefit.’

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.

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.

To read the full news story, visit the HDR website.

For further information about King’s, visit the King’s in Brief web pages.

For further information please contact the Public Relations Department at King’s College London on 0207 848 3202 or

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