Our aim is to transform how data is used to improve health. This requires people working across our UK universities and health and social care to have a combination of expertise in statistics, informatics and health data science. Health Data Research UK’s training strategy will develop health data scientists with expertise across these areas.
To achieve this, we will craft world-leading training in health data research and scientific health data engineering provision to the research community. This will empower scientists at all career stages to make the most of health data and strengthen health data research capacity across the globe.
We will support people in health science professions at all stages of their careers – from undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, post-doctoral fellowships to senior career posts. We will also address the challenge of scale to create an alumni network of high-energy and inter-disciplinary research and innovation expertise across the UK.
Early examples of our training strategy are provided below.
An exceptional Institute training programme
Our training programme will embrace novel approaches to research training and mentorship by providing in-person and online training. Our aim is to develop a cadre of health data science researchers in partnership with the NHS, The Alan Turing Institute and other public and private sector organisations on a massive scale not seen previously in the UK.
This includes the first Health Data Research UK Summer School, taking place in St Andrews, Scotland in August 2019. This week-long residential event hosted by St Andrew’s University, will include scientific presentations by internal and external speakers, short courses and networking opportunities.
Master’s degree programmes and studentships in health data science
Health Data Research UK is funding new Master’s degree programmes and studentships in health data science. Our aim is to stimulate the development of programmes that genuinely integrate statistics, informatics and health science, aimed either at medical students or life sciences graduates keen to develop their quantitative skills, or at core maths, physics, statistics and computing graduates wanting to move into the health sphere.
Health Data Research UK is developing apprenticeships to train NHS employees who are in data-analytic roles, but lack degree-level qualifications in this or related areas. We are working in partnership with several organisations, including NHS Digital and Health Education England, to create apprenticeship pathways (from A-level to Masters equivalent) and to facilitate partnerships between employers and training providers for the development and delivery of suitable programmes, at all apprenticeship levels.
Career pathways for data science specialists
We are working with colleagues across academia, other public-sector and private-sector organisations to promote the importance of attracting and retaining senior data science specialists into the health and biomedical science domain. During 2019 we will convene a working group of stakeholders to share best practice and initiate a review of career pathways for data scientists and engineers.
Building a community of research fellows
We are delighted to host 46 UKRI Innovation and Rutherford Fellows from institutions across the country at Health Data Research UK. These have been recognised as the next generation of leaders in the field.
We are also working in partnership with National Institute for Health Research to develop the next cadre of clinical fellows focussed on health data science. We will create one community of non-clinical and clinical fellows through training courses and networking events.
Our Training Group
We have established a Health Data Research UK Training Group whose membership includes representatives from each location and from our fellowship. The group meets quarterly to coordinate UK-wide training activities and develop training priorities.
Transition to and from industry
We will create training opportunities for individuals at all career levels to transition to and from industry, with a focus on pharmaceutical and technology companies. Possible activities will include co-funded PhD studentships and industry placements for Health Data Research Fellows to work on short-term projects. We will also participate in initiatives that sit at the interface between industry and academia.