An exciting new alliance will bring the UK’s leading academics together with forward thinking health data specialists, to develop new ways to design and support the medical research of the future, to improve the care patients receive from the NHS.

The UK Health Data Research Alliance will focus on the best ways to design, use, collect, manage and analyse health data in a responsible way for clinical trials, medical research, and innovation.

Inspired by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, the World Wide Web Consortium and the Human Genome Project, the Alliance will bring together organisations and digital health leaders to mobilise the UK’s health data for science and innovation.  Health Data Research UK and NHS Digital are the first partners to join the Alliance with other organisations expected to follow.

The UK Health Data Research Alliance aims to make health data more accessible and improve data quality in order to build a more innovative and efficient health and care system. Currently only a fraction of NHS and research data is easily accessible to researchers.

The Alliance will build a set of governance policies and standards to open up this information, whilst still ensuring that it is safe, secure and only shared where there is an appropriate legal basis.

This will help the NHS across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reach its performance targets as well as allowing new clinical research that can pave the way for medical trials into new treatments.

Part of this work will see NHS Digital and Health Data Research UK agree an approach to using data to better inform clinical trials and to design systems that allow data from across the English healthcare system to be accessible in real time.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, said: “Using health data for research has the potential to deliver solutions to the greatest healthcare challenges we face.

This new alliance brings together the unique data assets across the NHS, and allows access to them by the research community in a safe, secure and ethical framework. From this will flow new treatments and insights which will transform outcomes for patients”.

Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive of NHS Digital, said: “At NHS Digital we are very excited about the potential for our partnership with HDR UK, which is based on a commitment to deep collaborative engagement and co-creation of all aspects of the infrastructure necessary to foster innovation in Life Sciences in the UK, from data acquisition and management to data platform design and delivery to ethical governance of health and care data.

“A dynamic partnership between the NHS, academia and industry is critical to create the necessary environment for the sector to continue to thrive and to maintain its status as a world leader.”

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, added: “Creating the UK Health Data Research Alliance is an exciting and unique opportunity to bring together the fantastic capability in health data science that we have across the UK.  We have the opportunity to democratise health data research.

“I am delighted to announce our partnership with NHS Digital, which is an important milestone in establishing the Alliance.  I look forward to welcoming our future partners to this important initiative that has the potential to accelerate improvements in health and care and ensure patients across the UK have access to world leading research and innovation.”




Notes to editors

NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend.  During the 2017/18 financial year, NHS Digital published 275 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.

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About Health Data Research UK

Health Data Research UK is the national Institute for data science in health.  Our UK team of experts develop and apply cutting-edge data science approaches to clinical, biological, genomic and other multi-dimensional health data to address the most pressing health research challenges facing the public.  Our mission is to make game-changing improvements in the health of patients and populations through research and innovation.

We are funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care (England), the UK devolved administrations, and leading medical research charities.