Health Data Research UK is partnering with UKRI to establish two new data hubs in vital health areas.

In partnership with UKRI and Versus Arthritis a data hub will be established on pain – this forms part of the larger UKRI-Versus Arthritis Strategic Priority Fund Advanced Pain Discovery Platform.

Chronic pain is a major unmet global public health challenge and can have a devastating effect on the lives of those it affects and those around them. To help address this challenge, this hub will support the multidisciplinary approach that is needed to generate a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, as well as associated biological, social, psychological and economic factors that contribute to chronic pain.

Colin Wilkinson, member of the HDR UK Public Advisory Board, commented:

“A lot of people with pain have their stories ignored because conventional research methods don’t cope well with complicated health. However, by harnessing health data and developing tools to give us insight into people’s pain stories, we can change that. Everyone is included in health data, and we can look at the complexities of health and pain together. This hub brings us closer to writing endings to people’s never-ending pain stories.”

The Medical Research Council is also launching a call for applications for a mental health data hub. The vision for this hub will be driven by progressing a precision approach to mental health – providing the evidence base to help understand what is most effective at an individual, community or population level to prevent, treat and manage mental health problems and to intervene at an earlier stage. The hub will include a broad range of data sources to reflect mental health across the life course, the interface of physical health with mental health, and include datasets covering severe mental health problems and other vulnerable groups often under-represented in research studies.

A key component of our strategy to improve and unite health datasets, HDR UK’s hubs are centres of excellence with expertise, tools, knowledge and ways of working to maximise the insights and innovations developed from health data. They are unique models of partnership and collaboration that bring together data sets, improving curation, metadata and make them available to academic and industry groups wishing to conduct further research. HDR UK will support the establishment of hubs by providing the expertise and knowledge gained through setting up its current network of eight current data hubs; and then making datasets available in the Innovation Gateway, our platform which supports researchers to find data sets.

Both of these new hubs will need to develop strong public and patient involvement to demonstrate how they will be driven by the needs of the population.

Up to £2m per hub is available over 3 years and the deadline for applications is 25 February.

The funding calls are now live at and