Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) submitted its Quinquennial Review to core funders on 4 February 2022

The submission sets out the impact that the Institute has achieved since being established in 2018 and proposals for the next five years (from April 2023 to March 2028). These proposals are summarised and open for all stakeholders to view in the Overview – HDR UK Quinquennial Review

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our community and partners for their collaboration and input to develop this vision.

Our proposals are now subject to peer review as part of the Quinquennial process. We look forward to working with our core funders to discuss and refine these proposals in the coming months.

Further details of our proposed activities for the next five years and the review process are provided below.

About the Quinquennial Review

  • Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) was established in April 2018 by a group of core funders.  The core funders initially set up HDR UK as the “national health data research institute” with the vision of creating a pre-eminent international UK Institute for 20-30 years. The initial five years investment covered 2018-2023 (first quinquennium). The MRC, as the lead funder, is now co-ordinating all core funders in a quinquennial review (QQR) of HDR UK.  This review will assess our impact to date and future vision and be used to inform decisions about continued funding for HDR UK through to a second quinquennium (QQ2). The QQR process aims to assure the core funders of: 

    • The overall quality, impact, and productivity (past and future potential) of the Institute’s research programmes and the Institute as a whole 
    • The distinctive contribution of the Institute to core funders’ research portfolios strategic aims and the wider research effort 
    • The added value from the Institute structure 
    • The future form of support that is most appropriate  
    • The future resources required 

    Major stages of the QQR process 

    The QQR is a lengthy review process which starts in Autumn 2021, 18 months before the end of the quinquennium (March 2023).   The main stages of the QQR process are outlined below: 

    1. Oct 2021- Dec 2022: HDR UK internal review of QQ1 impact and development of QQ2 vision
      This process involves consultation with our community, funders, advisory boards, patients and the public to evaluate our unique position and priorities for the future.  
    2. Jan 2022: Submission of an Institute QQR report
      The report summarises our QQ1 impact and outlines our QQ2 vision.  It is used by the Core Funders as the basis of their evaluation 
    3. Feb-Mar 2022: Peer Review process
      Comments on the QQR report are sought from UK and international referees.  Additional stakeholder input is gathered as appropriate.  
    4. Mar – Oct 2022: Committee Review
      Review committees are established by the Core Funders to provide an independent evaluation of our proposal.  The report is supplemented by site visits and opportunity for HDR UK to respond to reviewer queries 
    5. Oct- Dec 2022: Core funders deliberations 
    6. Feb 2023: QQ2 Funding decisions  
    7. 01 Apr 2023: Start of QQ2 
  • The QQR process is used to evaluate the impact so far from the Core Award funding provided by our founding core funders and secure future core funding for the Institute’s second five years. The funds from our core funders support long-term scientific and research studies, training and infrastructure that contribute to data science at scale, support our One Institute approach and deliver long-term impact on the health of patients and populations across the UK We also raise thematic funding to support specific programmes of work. 

    Learn more about our core funders

  • HDR UK’s long-term mission, to unite the UK’s data to make discoveries that improve people’s lives, remains unchanged as it moves forward into its second five years. The Institute will continue to work with its partners and funders towards a future vision in which ‘large-scale data and advanced analytics benefits every patient interaction, clinical trial, biomedical discovery and enhances public health’.  

    In the second five years, HDR UK will focus on three integrated areas of activity to deliver this ambition:  

    • Research Data Infrastructure and Services: Providing the UK-wide and global co-ordination and leadership of health data infrastructure and services required to make health-relevant data FAIR. This will be built on the convening, collaborative and co-ordinating role of the UK Health Data Research Alliance and will comprise four Pillars of activity 
      • Assembling the technology services ecosystem  
      • Trust and transparency  
      • Developing the tools required to make data useable  
      • Building skills and capacity.  


    • Research Driver Programmes: Advancing research discoveries through high impact UK-wide programmes that:  
      • Address major health and societal challenges  
      • Guide the development of the infrastructure and services for the benefit of other researchers  
      • Are outward-looking with global reach.  


    • One Institute Partnerships: Through national leadership with a clear vision and ambition to assemble an ambitious health data research ecosystem with enduring benefits for all researchers  
      • As an innovative distributed UK-wide and increasingly global Institute, HDR UK will act as a flagship for team science, drawing on skills, resources, and expertise from academic, NHS, industry and government partners.  


    The core-funded Infrastructure and Services will enable the core Research Driver Programmes, and in turn the Research Driver Programmes will inform and drive the core Infrastructure and Services, enabled by UK-wide and global partnerships 

    These activities have been submitted as part of the Institute proposal to core funders.  The proposal will be subjected to independent peer review .  No funding is yet confirmed and there is no certainty that the programmes will go ahead.  If positively evaluated by the core funders, these programmes will start 1 April 2023.  

  • We have worked together across the HDR UK community and with our wider partners to develop our QQR report summarising our impact to date and future vision.  The QQR report was submitted to our core funders 04 February 2022 and will now undergo independent review.  

    Frontiers meetings (April 2021 – January 2022)  

    We held four Frontiers meetings in April, September and November 2021 and January 2022, providing a collaborative opportunity for our community and partners to come together to shape the HDR UK vision, strategy and delivery for the second quinquennium.  The outcomes of these meetings have been critical to shape our evolving proposals.   

    Community workshops (September – November 2021) 

    From September – November 2021 QQ2 programme leads (Infrastructure and Services, Driver Programmes and One Institute Partnerships) held community workshops to develop a more detailed vision for all activities and enable input from across the HDR UK and wider heath data community. QQ2 leads also help meetings and workshops to identify opportunities and develop a strategy for integration and collaboration across different activities.  

    Core Themes Blue Sky meetings – April 2021 

    Our QQ1 Research Directors and core theme leads (s Applied Analytics, Better Care, Clinical Trials, Human Phenome, Improving Public Health and Understanding Causes of Disease National Priorities, Infrastructure and Training) brought together the national communities around each theme to crystallise the main achievements of QQ1 and start to consider our structure for QQ2.

  • For regular updates on the QQR and other research developments please sign up to our monthly research newsletter.   

    Please do reach out to any of our QQ2 leads if you would like to discuss specific programmes.  Programme leads are listed below: 

    Activity  Leadership 
    Research Data Infrastructure and Services 
    UK Health Data Research Alliance 

    Secretariat and Engagement 

    Hub and Data Science Network 


    David Seymour, Paola Quattroni, Tim Hubbard 

    Ben Gordon, Kay Snowley  

    Pillar 1: Technology Services Ecosystem 

    Innovation Gateway and Core Services 

    Federated and AI-driven Analytics 


    Charles Gibbons, Helen Parkinson 

    Carole Goble, Emily Jefferson, Phil Quinlan, Susheel Varma, France Burns Luke Readman, Mark Parsons Michael Chapman, Pete Stokes, Simon Thompson 

    Pillar 2: Trust and Transparency 

    Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement 

    Governance and Ethics 


    Amanda White, Chris Monk, Sinduja Manohar  

    Andy Boyd, Cassie Smith 

    Pillar 3: Useable Data 

    Data Standards  

    Phenomics and the Prognostic Atlas 

    Transforming Data for Trials 


    Ben Gordon, Monica Jones 

    Emily Jefferson, Harry Hemingway  

    Marion Mafham, Matthew Sydes  

    Pillar 4: Capacity Building 

    Talent and Training 


    Christopher Yau, Sarah Cadman, Tim Frayling  

    Research Driver Programmes 

    Leadership and Coordination: Andrew Morris, Rhoswyn Walker (HDR UK) 

    Molecules to Health Records    John Danesh, Sarah Lewington  
    Medicines in Acute and Chronic Care  Elizabeth Sapey, Munir Pirmohamed 
    Immunity and Inflammation  Aziz Sheikh, Jennifer Quint 
    Social and Environmental Determinants of Health  Paul Elliott, Ruth Gilbert  
    Pandemics and Outbreaks  Kenneth Baillie, Sharon Peacock 
    Big Data for Complex Disease  Cathie Sudlow, Mark Lawler  
    One Institute Partnerships 
    UK Regional Networks  England – Cambridge  Angela Wood, John Danesh 
    England – Oxford  Cecilia Lindgren, Eva Morris   
    England – London  Harry Hemingway, Sinead Langan  
    England – Midlands  Alastair Denniston, Fiona Pearce   
    England – North  Andy Clegg, Munir Pirmohamed  
    England – South-West  Jonathan Sterne, Rachel Denholm 
    Scotland  Dave Robertson, Emily Jefferson 
    Wales & Northern Ireland  David Ford, Dermot O’Reilly, Sinead Brophy  
    HDR Global  Global  Anne Wozencraft, Neil Postlethwaite, Trudie Lang  
    Institute Office  UK  Amanda Borton/Alison Hopkinson (interim), Andrew Morris, Amanda White, David Seymour, Victoria Platt