The National Core Studies are using health data and research to inform our long-term response to COVID-19 and accelerating progress in establishing a world-leading health data and research infrastructure for the future.  

The programme comprises six studies: 

Epidemiology and Surveillance – collecting data to inform safe level of restrictions and protection against imminent outbreaks (led by Ian Diamond, UK National Statistician, ONS).  

Clinical Trials Infrastructure –  building on established NIHR infrastructure (and equivalent in Devolved Administrations) to accelerate delivery of large scale Covid trials for drugs and vaccines. (led by Patrick Chinnery, Clinical Director, MRC and Divya Chadha Manek, Head of Business Development, Vaccines Task Force).  

Transmission and Environment – understanding and mitigating transmission of the disease in workplace, transport and public places (led by Andrew Curran Chief Scientific Adviser, Health & Safety Executive). 

Immunity – understanding immunity against Covid to inform back-to-work policies (led by Paul Moss Professor of Haematology, University of Birmingham). 

Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing – using data from longitudinal studies to address the impact of COVID-19 and of associated viral suppression measures on health and wealth to inform mitigating strategies (led by Nishi Chaturvedi, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University College London).

Data and Connectivity – making data from all studies available and accessible to inform decision makers and catalyse COVID-19 research (led by Andrew Morris Director, HDR UK). 

The role of ‘Data and Connectivity’

“Data and Connectivity” supports the other five studies and accelerates the approach to answering key research questions by enabling streamlined data access and analysis. The study will bring together key assets of the UK data infrastructure by working in partnership with stakeholders from across the four nations to organise medical, biological and social science data on an unprecedented scale.  

Data and Connectivity will use and build on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway and the UK’s trusted research environments to make this vital data available for analysis, ethically and safely, to accelerate COVID-19 research. 

Data and Connectivity news announcement

While this study focuses on the near-term response to COVID-19, it also supports long-term preparedness.  It creates an opportunity to accelerate the development of the health data research infrastructure across the UK – streamlining processes, making more data safely discoverable and accessible in a transparent, trustworthy way. All of which enables world-leading research to be carried out at pace and scale, facilitating new discoveries that will improve health and care in the UK. 

Read the Sprint 1 overview (5 October – 4 November 2020)

Read the Sprint 2 overview (5 November – 4 December 2020)

Read the Sprint 3 overview

Watch ‘4 minutes with Sharon Peacock’, Director of COG-UK

Watch ‘3 minutes with Ian Diamond’ National Statistician