Picture the scene: you are seating at your desk, a steaming cup of coffee by your side, the rich aroma from your drink spurring you on, ready to start working on your latest project, one that will revolutionise the way people look at COVID-19. You just need to start evaluating available resources, including datasets, analytical tools, and understand if there are any existing research and papers out there that could help fast track your project. Easier said than done; where to start?

You heard about the HDR UK Innovation Gateway from one of your colleagues, so you go and explore. It looks promising and is easy to navigate. You type your query in the search bar, and get lots of results that can be filtered to narrow down the answers. As you are doing this, you notice something called “Collection”. There is even one on COVID-19, so curious, you click on it. Just what you are after: there in one place, curated for you, are all the resources you need for your COVID-19 project: papers, datasets, tools, people and projects.

If you log in you can even create your own private collection to bookmark all the information relevant to your research and share it with your close collaborators.

A very powerful concept.

Your coffee gets cold as you are engrossed in discovering resources and building your own private collection with exciting assets.


At Health Data Research UK, we are passionate about health data and its potential for innovation. We want to challenge the status quo, to enable innovation and progress in health data research. To do this, we created, amongst other things, the Innovation Gateway, a home for discovery and enablement, but also a place where like minded people can come together to share concepts and ideas.

We are at the beginning of our journey, having just started to build our vision, but already since our 2 June 2020 release, we have over 450 datasets and 87 projects to discover.

Whilst the Innovation Gateway does not hold any health data, it contains so much rich information that we wanted to create a meaningful way to facilitate discovery of key topics. Which is why, working with our technology partner PA Consulting, we developed the concept of “collections”.

A collection is a place to centralise information around a theme, such as COVID-19, where all relevant tools, metadata, projects, papers and people are made available. I am personally really excited about them, as I think collections will become very powerful assets for different members of our communities.

If you are a data custodian, you can have your own public collection that will display and centralise all your assets. You can explain who you are, give background about the information you have, mention any restrictions and/or commercial models, and simplify interaction with an innovator. It will act as a shop window and sign posting for people interested in your institution.

If you are a researcher, you will not only find curated collections which should facilitate your discovery journey, but you will also be able to create your own collection of information relevant to you. You can have many different private collections, centred on various topics, for as long or as short a period of time as you wish.

If you are a patient or member of the public, collections offer an easy way to understand what is happening in different areas of health research. It will give you a clear view of available information and activity in specific domains.

The first iteration of collections was released on 14 July 20. As I mentioned, I am very excited about them, as I think they will simplify discovery of health data assets and therefore help fast track innovation. That is only my opinion. What I really want to know is, what do you think about them?

So, take a look at the Innovation Gateway, explore the concept of collections by browsing existing ones (more to come soon) and creating you own.

And then, tell me what you think here. I would love to have your feedback for the next iteration, and understand what works, what does not, what is missing.