Six sites across the UK are to be given a share of £54million funding to address challenging healthcare issues through the use of data science.

Starting in April, the sites, which range from Oxford to Scotland, will receive £30million to work as foundation partners with the newly-established Health Data Research UK.

They have been tasked with extracting analysis from data sets in order to help drive technology breakthroughs in medical research and improve population health.

A further £24 million will be invested in other projects, including a Future Talent Programme and work to address targeted data research challenges through partnerships.

The six sites will include the following 22 universities, research and NHS organisations:

  • Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge, European Bioinformatics Institute – Cambridge
  • UCL, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine – London
  • University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick and University Hospitals Birmingham – Midlands
  • University of Oxford – Oxford
  • University of Edinburgh, University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of St Andrews, University of Strathclyde – Scotland
  • Swansea University, Queen’s University Belfast – Wales, Northern Ireland.

Professor Andrew Morris, director of Health Data Research UK, said: “The six HDR UK sites, comprising 22 universities and research institutes, have tremendous individual strengths and will form a solid foundation for our long-term ambition.

“By working together and with NHS and industry partners to the highest ethical standards, our vision is to harness data science on a national scale.

“This will unleash the potential for data and technologies to drive breakthroughs in medical research, improving the way we are able to prevent, detect and diagnose diseases like cancer, heart disease and asthma.”

Health Data Research UK, which is funding the project, is a joint investment co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council who work in partnership with a number of organisations including the British Heart Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Another partner is the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) which also announced that it has awarded £4 million to the development of virtual reality (VR) treatments from the NHS.