Cassandra Smith joins HDR UK as Head of Legal, taking up this new role on the Executive Committee on 29 March 2021. Cassandra joins from Amazon where she was Senior Corporate Counsel. Cassandra will lead the development of HDR UK’s legal and data governance strategy to ensure the benefits of the organisation’s work are realised in a way that continues to build public trust in health data research.  

Caroline Cake, Chief Executive, HDR UK, commented: 

“I am delighted Cassandra is joining HDR UK and look forward to working with her. We continue to make phenomenal progress in our mission to unite the UK’s health datasets to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives, as exemplified in the national research response to COVID-19. Data governance and trustworthy commercial agreements with our partners are crucial aspects of these plans, so this appointment is an important element in delivering our strategy.” 

Cassandra’s experience in managing complex contracts and governance in the tech sector will be fundamental as HDR UK continues to and expand its relationships with core partners across the academic, NHS, charity, government and private sector; both in the UK and globally. 

Cassandra Smith, incoming Legal Counsel, HDR UK, commented: 

“I’m excited to be joining HDR UK, an organisation that has such a vital role in improving the healthcare of the UK population. The organisation is growing rapidly, so it is great to be joining at this important point in its development and I am looking forward to supporting its growth through the development of robust commercial and legal frameworks”. 

The appoint of Cassandra follows the recent announcement of Charles Gibbons as new Chief Technology Officer. Cassandra will be supporting the development of the wider infrastructure strategy for health data in the UK. This work includes the UK Health Data Research Innovation Gateway; the UK’s principal platform for enabling access to health datasets to support discoveries to improve people’s lives.   

About Health Data Research UK 

Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) is the national institute for health data science. Our mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care in England and equivalents in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and leading medical research charities.  

HDR UK was set up in 2018 to support research on health data at scale to advance our understanding of disease and enable new discoveries that will ultimately improve health and care. We have established national research programmes that use data at scale, and we are building an infrastructure to enable the responsible access and analysis of this data. Our work is structured around three themes:  

  • Uniting health data – which includes the UK Health Data Research Alliance and the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway. 
  • Improving health data – which includes tools, methods, Health Data Research Hubs and the BHF Data Science Centre. 
  • Using health data – which includes research discoveries and skills development across four national priority areas: Understanding the Causes of Disease, Clinical Trials, Public Health and Better Care. 

We are delivering this strategy through our inclusive, team-oriented One Institute ethos – bringing together NHS, universities, research institutes and charities – built on our values.