• The BDCD Driver Programme is designed to address three core challenges that focus on deploying whole population, national linked health data:

    • To better predict development of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to stratify risk for better early detection, early diagnosis and prevention.
    • To improve understanding of the inter-relationship between these complex diseases to ensure that data driven insights fully inform strategies for the prevention, early diagnosis and management of both treatment sequelae and long term risk.
    • To examine and better understand the impact of inequalities to influence and mitigate the negative impacts on incidence and outcomes associated with age, gender, ethnicity, geography and deprivation.

    The programme is led by Professor Cathie Sudlow (HDR UK) and Professor Mark Lawler (Queen’s University Belfast, HDR UK Northern Ireland), with a wider leadership team from across the UK.

  • The Driver Programme will fund up to five three-year PhD studentships. Three years of funding will be available from HDR UK, with option for an additional year funded by the host research organisations.

    PhD project proposals must be aligned with the aims and objectives of BDCD Driver Programme.

  • For a wide range of complex diseases, deriving intelligence from nationwide, multisource, linked health relevant data has the potential to yield crucial insights that accelerate and enhance opportunities for innovation in disease detection, diagnosis, treatment, improved
    care, better outcomes and more rational health policy.

    Cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the two commonest causes of morbidity and mortality in the UK and globally, with incidence, morbidity and mortality increasing over the last several decades as the world’s population has aged.

    Slowing these global trends requires approaches that recognise and exploit the power of whole, large population-scale health relevant data to catalyse health data science and its translation.

    We also need to break down traditionally siloed disease and expertise specific domains, rising to the challenge of jointly addressing cancer, CVD, other complex diseases, their inter-relationships and their sequelae.

    Crucially, we need to use the intelligence gained to translate into real benefit for citizens and patients and influence national and international policy and best practice.

  • Project proposals will be rated on scientific excellence and their importance, originality, feasibility, and alignment with the BDCD Driver Programme. This includes its aim to exploit key population-wide linked multisource data enabled by the programme.

    HDR UK is also keen to award studentships for projects which bridge across BDCD and other HDR UK programmes.

    Host research organisations must be able to offer excellent training and career development opportunities for the student. They will need a track record of attracting and supporting excellent PhD studentships from a health data science background.

    Students can be hosted by a single research organisation or spend part of the studentship hosted by a second research organisation.

    Primary host organisations must be able to enrol the student for, and award, a higher degree (PhD or MD), and provide students and fellows with a training environment that nurtures and develops open and team science principles.

    Project selections will be made by a committee chaired by the BDCD co-leads and consisting of health data science experts (who are co-investigators on the BDCD programme) from across the UK.

    • Deadline for applications – 17:00 Friday 5 May 2023
    • Project review panel – w/c 8 May 2023
    • Host organisations notified of project selections – 12 May 2023
    • Student applications – 12 May to 9 June 2023
    • HDR UK student selection panel – w/c 19 June 2023
    • Conditional offer/s made – during or before w/c 26 June 2023
    • Unconditional offer made – during or before w/c 17th July 2023
    • Award letter issued – during or before w/c 24th July 2023

    Please complete the application form and return to learn@hdruk.ac.uk.