UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is instrumental in the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have invested millions of pounds in COVID-19 research and innovation (R&I) at home and around the world.
UKRI has funded three National Core Studies to address near-term policy and operational questions to support the government’s response to COVID-19.
Background to the National Core Studies
In the summer of 2020, the UK government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and the Chief Medical Officer, together with experts and funders, including UKRI, identified several key areas where there was a clear requirement for the UK to increase research scale or provide infrastructure.
To address this requirement, the Government Office for Science (GO-Science) worked with a range of government departments to establish the National Core Studies.
The National Core Studies are:
- Epidemiology and Surveillance – led by Professor Sir Ian Diamond, UK National Statistician, ONS
- Clinical Trials Infrastructure – led by Professor Patrick Chinnery, Clinical Director, MRC and Dr Divya Chadha Manek, Head of Business Development, Vaccines Task Force
- Transmission and Environment – led by Professor Andrew Curran, Chief Scientific Adviser, Health & Safety Executive
- Immunity – led by Professor Paul Moss, University of Birmingham
- Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing – led by Professor Nishi Chaturvedi, University College London
- Data and Connectivity – led by Professor Andrew Morris, Director, Health Data Research UK.
An oversight committee of experts was assembled in July 2020 to select study leads and work with them to:
- identify the pressing questions in the rapidly changing pandemic
- survey the research landscape
- identify essential gaps and what would be required to fill them.
An international panel was also assembled to draw in global expertise, including from the US, India and the University of Hong Kong. This panel provided advice and challenges from different perspectives.
Selection of leads was based on their unique position, expertise, or acknowledged leadership in the field, and/or links to existing work of relevance.
Leads were encouraged to work across disciplines and share resources to ensure maximum impact of investment.
Leads were not responsible for delivering all of the research themselves, but rather for facilitating the work of others across the NHS, universities, and government.
UKRI leads on three National Core Studies
UKRI is funding three of the National Core Studies that build on our long-term and COVID-specific investments:
- Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing
- Data and Connectivity.
In funding these studies, study leads have justified their selection of delivery partners and established independent advisory groups to review and comment on plans.
In addition, access to data resources and analytics is being provided in line with the ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable’ (FAIR) principles for scientific data management.
Open competition is being used to address study area challenges and build research capacity.
More information about each study, including aims, delivery partners, and specific funding opportunities: