Professor Emily Jefferson became the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Health Data Research UK in November 2022. She is seconded from her position as Professor of Health Data Science at the University of Dundee. She leads on the development and delivery of technology services to enable the provision of consistent and meaningful research access to health data. This includes the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway, which accelerates the discovery and access request management enhancing the ethical, secure, and transparent use of health datasets and other assets. Emily will lead the next stage of development which will include collaborating with Trusted Research Environment providers across the UK on federated analytics.

Emily had a track record of collaboration across HDR UK’s broad community of partners before joining as CTO, including her role as Director of the HDR Alleviate Pain Data Hub; as Co-Principal Investigator for the CO-CONNECT, programme, as work package lead on the HDR UK Phenotypes Library and the HDR UK Multi-omics Project and as Primary Investigator on the HDR Scottish Data Federation Project and the HDR UK Biorepository Project.

Prior to her role as CTO, Emily was the Director of the Health Informatics Centre (HIC) at the University of Dundee for 10 years during which time she led a large team providing services and academic collaborations to over 700 different research projects covering health informatics, data science, data management, governance, and machine learning. She also held a part-time role at the University of Glasgow for 18 months.

Emily’s main research interest is in innovative methods for the provision of sensitive linked data at pace and scale which meets both data governance requirements and those of the research community. She has a wide range of interests in Health Data Science and has attracted over £40 million in grant funding and was the principal investigator of several programme grants, including the MRC/EPSRC funded PICTURES programme.

Emily has a degree in Biochemistry, a PhD in Bioinformatics and was employed as a post-doctoral researcher in Bioinformatics following her PhD. She then left academia to work in the finance sector. In industry she gained extensive experience of using “Big Data” and leading the delivery of large software and hardware projects. Emily then took a career break to solo cycle from New Zealand to the UK over 1 year.