Strathclyde in programme for transforming health

The University of Strathclyde has joined a UK-wide programme addressing challenging healthcare issues through use of data science.

Funding of £30 million has been awarded by Health Data Research UK to six sites across the UK, with Strathclyde one of six universities involved in the Scotland site.

The sites will work collaboratively as foundation partners in Health Data Research UK to make significant improvements in health, by harnessing data science at scale across the UK. Each site has world-class expertise, a track record in using health data to derive new knowledge, scientific discovery and insight, and works in close partnership with NHS bodies and the public to translate research findings into benefits for patients and populations.

Researchers are participating from Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Departments of Mathematics & Statistics, Computer & Information Sciences and Management Science. The funding aligns with, and builds on, a recently secured UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Rutherford Fund Fellowship in precision drug therapeutics. 

The site will build on work by the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, in which Strathclyde is also a partner and leads its pharmacoepidemiology work stream.  

Professor Marion Bennie, of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, is the University’s lead on the project. She said: “This project has a great capacity for using routine data to inform patient care and to study the effect of medicines in real-world practice.

“A principle of our partnership is to build on the national data that we hold around medicines and look to see if we can take that data and understand better the risk assessment profile for different patients in relation to the benefits and risks of individual medicines. 

“Improved understanding will help us to better tailor medicines for patients and achieve the best delivery in clinical practice.”

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, said: “(This) marks the start of a unique opportunity for scientists, researchers and clinicians to use their collective expertise to transform the health of the population. 

Breakthroughs

“The six HDR UK sites, comprising 22 universities, research and NHS organisations, have tremendous individual strengths and will form a solid foundation for our long-term ambition.  By working together and with NHS and industry partners to the highest ethical standards, our vision is to harness data science on a national scale. This will unleash the potential for data and technologies to drive breakthroughs in medical research, improving the way we are able to prevent, detect and diagnose diseases like cancer, heart disease and asthma.”

The funding represents the first phase of investment to establish Health Data Research UK.  A further £24 million will be invested in forthcoming activities, including a Future Talent Programme and work to address targeted data research challenges through additional partnership sites. 

Professor Bennie is joined in the Health Data Research UK project by Professor Chris Robertson of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Professor Roma Maguire and Dr Marilyn Lennon of the Department of Computer & Information Sciences and Professor Alec Morton of the Department of Management Science.