£37.5m Digital Innovation Hub initiative set to tackle Britain's 'biggest health challenges'

Regional partnerships of NHS, academia and industry representatives will be invited to submit a bid to establish a Digital Innovation Hub in 2019.
By Leontina Postelnicu
02:45 pm
Executives meeting.

During the next three years, £37.5m will be invested in a new Digital Innovation Hub programme aiming to unlock the value of health data resources in an effort to address Britain's 'biggest health challenges'.

The vision for the ‘industry friendly’ hubs connecting data from GP practices, hospitals, social and community care, along with genetic, biomedical and other datasets, covering regions of three to five million people, was initially set out in the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy published in 2017

The initiative will be delivered by the Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) institute on behalf of UK Research and Innovation, as previously reported by BJ-HC, and is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s £210m data to early diagnosis and precision medicine theme.

‘Demonstrator projects’ will inform the design and delivery process and, in spring 2019, regional partnerships of NHS, academia and industry representatives will be invited to submit a bid to establish one of the hubs.

HDR UK said the new initiative would complement the work of the Local Health and Care Record Exemplars and NHS Digital’s plans to create a Data Services Platform, while Innovate UK Interim Executive Chair Ian Campbell said it would 'ensure the UK’s status as a prime location for real-world clinical trials'.

“This initiative also has the potential to transform the health and wellbeing of individuals, their families and future generations through the ability to make better use of data at scale. As a UK Institute, Health Data Research UK – with its strong academic, NHS and industry connections – is well placed to deliver the Digital Innovation Hubs,” Campbell added.

The announcement follows the appointments of Dr Rhoswyn Walker as HDR UK's Chief Strategy Officer and Gerry Reilly as the institute's Interim Chief Technology Officer

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: 

“These hubs will allow researchers to unlock new advances by harnessing the huge potential of data so the NHS will continue to lead the way in technology that improves patient care, makes taxpayers’ money go further and lessens the workload for staff."