The COVID-19 response has demonstrated, more than ever, that having trustworthy access to secure health data for research is crucial in helping inform policy and discover treatments that save lives. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have now established a new partnership with HDR UK and ADR UK to scope requirements for UK-wide data infrastructure, enabling novel and innovative research across a variety of disciplines. 

This partnership – supported through UKRI’s planned infrastructure investments- will define the technology and secure environments for storing, connecting and analysing complex and sensitive data, enabling researchers to bring advanced analytical algorithms to the data.

Led by Hans-Erik Aronson, who joins Health Data Research UK from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the USA, the programme aims to support the next generation of trusted research environments to enable fast, safe and efficient data research.

This first scoping phase will bring together UK researchers with funders, existing providers of infrastructure, members of the public, and other stakeholders, to co-design standards and gather detailed requirements from across research disciplines.

Members of the public will be involved throughout this first phase, including as representatives on the governance committees. Roles for public contributors on the Scientific and Technology Advisory Group will be advertised shortly.

Caroline Cake, CEO at Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), said:  

“This is the start of a listening exercise where we’ll be learning about the opportunities for future data research and the requirements of researchers from across different disciplines and sectors. The public are partners in this journey, ensuring that we develop a trustworthy approach to enable future discoveries using data that improve all of our lives.” 

Dr Emma Gordon, Director of Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) said:

“There are many examples of great research infrastructure in the UK, which are enabling research insights and scientific discoveries that are saving lives. This programme gives us an opportunity to step back and consider how to draw on the strengths that exist across different research sectors and to involve the public in that conversation. We can then ensure we are designing the best possible research environments strengthening the UK’s position as the place to do world-class research that benefits everyone.”

Visit UKRI’s website for more information