The national institute for health data science, HDR UK, has today launched HDR UK Futures, an initiative designed to support the development of the next generation of health data scientists; as well as powering up the skills of the existing community.

HDR UK Futures is a virtual learning environment (VLE) that will rapidly build into a free, comprehensive, up-to-the-minute library of CPD-accredited, bite-size videos, and other materials, covering a wide variety of essential topics.

The first videos are already online and a total of 140 are planned in the weeks and months ahead.

The videos are being delivered by experts from academia, industry and the NHS including Alex Bailey, Programme Manager, at the MRC Regulatory Support Centre, Professor Alastair Denniston, Consultant Ophthalmologist at University Hospitals Birmingham and Harry Hemingway, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at UCL.

HDR UK Futures has been created as part of the institute’s mission to drive the development of the health data science sector, establish the UK as a world leader in this vital field; and ultimately to improve the health and care for patients and the public.

This mission has been given extra impetus by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shown the need to have training and learning mechanisms in place that can respond quickly to changing situations – using simple and effective means to help health data scientists adapt.

HDR UK Futures allows users to create their own profiles, picking and choosing the videos and materials that are of most interest and relevance, and accessing it whenever and wherever they wish.

The content, much of which is specially commissioned, is supplemented with carefully curated materials from trusted and expert external sources, working in partnership with University partners across the UK, will be on three levels:

  • Core knowledge and skills– for healthcare professionals, scientists and others who need to discover the fundamentals.
  • Practitioner level– the hands-on practical skills needed to carry out good data science.
  • Specialist level– exploring advanced data analysis methodologies.

The curriculum has been created by Professor Georgina Moulton, HDR UK Director of Training, Learning and Development, who is recognised internationally for her leadership in setting education strategy, and has created four national curricula to develop health data science skills for the NHS and industry.

The curriculum covers five areas:

  • Access to health data and tools
  • Working with health data
  • Analysing health data
  • Patient and public involvement (PPIE)
  • Changing working practice.

The first videos (each under five minutes) provide essential guides to topics, such as:

  • When is Your Data Identifiable?
  • Data Sharing and Confidentiality
  • Issues to Consider When Seeking Research Approvals

HDR UK Futures will host live events, including the highly successful annual Health Data Research UK Summer School, and will signpost high-quality health data science resources from organisations across the country.

Users will also be able to participate in online communities, allowing them to network with colleagues and discuss issues of common interest.

Professor Andrew Morris, Director, Health Data Research UK

“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphatically underlined the need and the ability of the health data science community to collaborate and respond to changing circumstances fast and effectively.  

HDR UK Futures is a partnership initiative that will build on this, providing both our existing community and the next generation of health data scientists with the information and skills they need. It is aimed at helping our country become a world-leader in health data research by providing the expertise people need to successfully address the most pressing needs in healthcare.” 

Rony Arafin, CEO of Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts (AphA):

“Our mission is to drive up the quality and application of analytics. We see HDR UK Futures as an excellent way for healthcare analysts to advance their skills and knowledge and thrive within the UK’s fast-paced and dynamic health and care system in a way that suits their individual needs and fits in with their lives.” 

Sarah Cadman, HDR UK Programme Director for Talent and Training:

“Data science is becoming critically important for healthcare and we need to be sure that the right training and information is readily available for everyone from students to data engineers, analysts and scientists working in industry, academia or the NHS. HDR UK Futures is an accessible way for anyone, at any stage of their career, to develop their expertise, and access the high-quality learning they need to build knowledge, keep abreast of latest developments and engage in-depth study. We hope it will grow into a trusted and popular resource that health data scientists can use to boost their skills in order to carry out more and better health data science projects and to advance their careers.” 

Find out more

Register to HDR UK Futures