The funds from our founding 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.

Visit our core funders

We are now over halfway through its first quinquennium, and thus preparations for our quinquennial review are underway.

  • 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 

QQ2 Programme Development:  October – November 2021 

Our QQ2 vision is based on delivering cross-cutting research infrastructure services which address the challenges of data access and enable Research Demonstrator programmes which in turn will drive the core infrastructure services. Throughout October and November we will be developing the vision and delivery approach for these programmes.  

The details of the QQ2 programmes and their co-ordinating teams are outlined below. These are suggested programmes which will be submitted as part of the proposal to our core funders.  No funding is yet confirmed and there is no certainty that the programmes will go ahead.  If positively evaluated by our Core Funders, these programmes will start April 2023.  

Community Workshops  

Dates for any community workshops will be added as they are confirmed.  We welcome input into these workshops from across the HDR UK and wider heath data community as they will be critical to shape our QQ2 programmes.  

Please do reach out to any of the programme convenors if you would be interested in discussing the programme in more detail.  

We have set up Slack channels for each of our QQ2 programmes.  Please register here to join these channels and get involved. 

We are looking forward to convening the full HDR UK community and partners for a third Frontiers meeting on 15 November 2021. This will be an opportunity to discuss our final QQ2 proposals.  More details to follow.  

Demonstrator Programmes 

Health-research led programmes creating UK-wide data foundations for up to 68 million people across a range of data types (e.g. environmental, molecular, pathogen, electronic health records) linked to routine health data; conducting and enable researching using these foundations that demonstrate how data can ‘power-up’ and transform health research 

Molecules to Electronic Health Records:
Connecting our genetic data with day-to-day data about our lives to enable discoveries about causes of diseases,  John Danesh, Sarah Lewington 

Inflammation and Immunity:
Connecting data about inflammation (e.g. respiratory, neurodegeneration) to enable improvements in health, Aziz SheikhJenni Quint 

Big Data for Common Complex Disease:
Connecting all of the data foundations to tackle cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia, Mark LawlerCathie Sudlow 

Pandemics and Outbreaks:
Connecting data about pathogens to data about us, Kennie BaillieSharon Peacock 

Environmental and Societal Determinants of Health:
Connecting data on all of us over time with environmental data to enable understanding of childhood health and aging and to enable improvements in health for all of us (ensuring we are all represented), Paul ElliottRuth Gilbert
Workshop: Wednesday 13 October, 14:00-15:30 Join here 

Data Driven Innovation in Medicines and Acute Care:
Connecting data about medicines and care we are receiving to enable improvements in care and treatment, Munir PirmohammedLiz Sapey
Workshop: Thursday 14th October 2021, 10:00-13:00 Register here 

Infrastructure Services 

Driving health data research discoveries by providing researchers, innovators and citizens with a federated and open multi-disciplinary UK-wide health data research environment where they can find and use data, tools and services for research, innovation and educational purposes. This will require a shared infrastructure network of data expertise, services and standards. This includes Public, Patient and Practitioner Involvement and Engagement (PPPIE), the UK Health Data Alliance, the Innovation Gateway, training programmes and data research hubs; identifying and implementing trustworthy data services that are user-centred, applicable across research domains and technologies, scalable, and sustainable.   

Public, Patient and Practitioner Involvement and Engagement (PPPIE)
Informing, engaging & empowering, involving and influencing patients, the public and practitioners to enable trustworthy and accountable research at scale, Sinduja ManoharChris Monk
Wednesday 3 November 2021, 10.00-12.00pm Register here

UK Health Data Research Alliance
Bringing together the UK’s data custodians to establish best practice for the trustworthy and ethical use of UK health data for research at scale, David Seymour, Paola Quattroni 

Alliance – Governance & Ethics
Providing thought leadership and expertise to enable innovative approaches to data governance, enabling streamlined data access through TREs and helping data custodians realise benefits for patients, Cassie Smith 

Alliance – Data Standards & Quality
Implementing data standards and quality improvements to support federated research across data custodians, Ben Gordon, Monica Jones 

Innovation Gateway Services
Providing UK’s consolidated discovery resource for health research datasets, papers, tools & projects, Charles GibbonsHelen Parkinson 

Gateway – Prognostic Atlas
Generating data-driven prognostic information, Harry HemingwayEmily Jefferson 

Gateway – Federation Services
Enable secure federated analytics across UK-wide TREs, Dave RobertsonCarole GobleSusheel Varma 

Talent & Training
Developing the skills and expertise for UK-wide health data research, Chris YaoSarah Cadman 

Tools for Trials
Enabling the widespread use of healthcare systems data and patient-generated data across the clinical trials lifecycle, Marion MafhamMatt Sydes 

Hub & Data Science Network
Enable a network of Hubs implementing and developing best practice in data curation and access, Ben Gordon, Kay Snowley 


Local networks enabling participation, knowledge sharing and engagement across all regions of the UK; ensuring the Demonstrator Programmes and Infrastructure Services draw on data, partnerships and communities across the UK. 

Cambridge, John DaneshAngela Wood 

London, Harry Hemingway, Sinead Langan 

Midlands, Alastair DennistonFiona Pearce 

Wales & Northern Ireland, David Ford, Sinead Brophy 

North, Munir Pirmohammed 

Scotland, Dave RobertsonEmily Jefferson 

Oxford, Eva Morris, Celia Lindgren 

Southwest, Jonathan SterneRachel Denholm 

Keeping in touch 

We have set up Slack channels for the proposed QQ2 programmes to support communication between the programme convenors and our wider HDR UK community. If you would like to join any of the channels, please register here.  

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

Past events

  • We held two Frontiers meetings in April and September, 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.  

  • Our QQ1 Research Directors and core theme leads (who lead across 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.