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Health datasets to conduct research

Discover how we can support you to access and curate health data to accelerate your research.

Access world-class health datasets

At 67 million people, the UK has a large and diverse population cared for in a single healthcare system, each person with their own, unique patient identifier.

The breadth and longevity of this data alone makes the UK a data-rich nation, unparalleled by any other country worldwide, and holds huge potential for health data research.

We support multiple initiatives to enable the life sciences industry to access and curate health data. Our dedicated Industry team can help you to identify and engage with the initiative or service best suited to your therapeutic area, research stage, and innovation.

Our support will be most beneficial if you contact us at an early stage in your research planning. By contacting us early, we can provide bespoke support that meets your needs and provides benefits throughout the full life-cycle of your study.

How can you support me to access and curate health data?

We can help you to:

  • access providers of broad and deep datasets of omics and across primary and secondary care
  • access data on large and diverse populations
  • connect with leading researchers and centres to curate and access specific datasets
  • access diverse healthcare system data such as patient reported outcomes, wearables, transport of materials, movement of people, and others
  • generate new data suited to your research and development needs
  • navigate the governance aspect of accessing data
  • curate data and develop machine learning models.

Explore some of the health data sources in the UK

Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)

Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) is a real-world research service supporting retrospective and prospective public health and clinical studies. CPRD research data services are delivered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency with support from us - the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) - as part of the Department of Health and Social Care.

CPRD collects anonymised patient data from a network of GP practices across the UK. Primary care data are linked to a range of other health related data to provide a longitudinal, representative UK population health dataset. The data encompass 60 million patients, including 18 million currently registered patients. 

Health Data Research UK, the national institute for health data science

Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) unites the UK's health data to enable discoveries, enhancing health and care research endeavours through access to large scale data and advanced analytics.

The NIHR is one of nine UK research funders awarding more than £70 million in funding to HDRUK over the next 5 years.

HDRUK provides a common entry point to discover and request access to UK health datasets. Through the HDRUK Innovation Gateway, HDRUK Health Data Research Alliance and HDR Futures, HDRUK supports the life sciences industry, researchers, clinicians and healthcare professionals to access health data tools, research projects, publications and collaborate through a community forum.

HDRUK hosts 8 Health Data Research Hubs:

  • Alleviate Pain Data Hub - Curates UK chronic pain data, creating a central resource for pain researchers to discover and query datasets in a secure, federated manner. Hosted within the Health Informatics Centre and the University of Dundee.
  • BHF Data Hub - A partnership between HDRUK and the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Enables research using health data into the causes, prevention and treatment of all diseases of the heart and circulation (such heart attacks, stroke and vascular dementia). Delivered by the BHF Data Science Centre.
  • DATA-CAN Data Hub - The UK’s health data research hub for cancer, hosted by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. A unique partnership of NHS organisations, patients, charities, academia and industry working across all of the UK to unlock the power of health data to improve cancer care.
  • DATAMIND Data Hub - The hub for mental health informatics research development is funded by The Medical Research Council and is delivered in partnership with HDRUK. DATAMIND is supported by The Catalogue of Mental Health Measures.
  • DISCOVER-NOW Data Hub - Hosted by Imperial College Health Partners, Discover-NOW brings together NHS organisations, globally recognised academic, industry, technology, research and charity partners, as well as patients and the public, focussed on the use of real-world health data for research.
  • Gut Reaction Data Hub - Facilitates Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research. Brings together genomic and phenotypic data from patients in the IBD BioResource with real-world data from participating NHS Hospitals and other national datasets.
  • INSIGHT Data Hub - An NHS-led initiative set up to make routinely collected eye data available for approved health research. INSIGHT is led by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
  • PIONEER Data Hub - The health data research hub for acute care is improving patient care by making routinely collected health data available to doctors, researchers and academics. Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered in partnership with HDRUK. 

UK Biobank, enabling scientific discoveries

The UK Biobank is a large-scale biomedical database and research resource, containing in-depth, de-identified genetic and health information from half a million UK participants.

The database, which is regularly augmented with additional data, is globally accessible to approved researchers from all types of academic, charity, government and commercial organisations for health-related research that is in the public interest.

UK Biobank’s research resource is a major contributor to the advancement of modern medicine and treatment. It has enabled several scientific discoveries that improve human health in the most common and life-threatening diseases.

Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS)

The Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) system is a computer system that allows researchers at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) to carry out research using information from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust clinical records. CRIS is safe and secure, and patients' personal details cannot be accessed by researchers who use it.

Related information

This is just one of the ways we help life science organisations to conduct research in the UK. Visit our NIHR support for industry page to discover our full range of support. You may also be interested  in: 

Contact us

Fill out our contact form to request advice and tailored support on accessing and curating data. We aim to reply as soon as possible and always within two business days. 

Contact the Industry team