Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Accelerating detection of disease

This UKRI Challenge Fund investment will recruit up to five million volunteers who have agreed to help in a health project that will track their health records and potentially invite them to join further research studies. 

£79 million
From 2019 to March 2025
Partners involved:
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Innovate UK

The scope and what we're doing

The investment aims to:

  • improve NHS-industry-academic collaboration and innovation
  • improve risk prediction, early detection and early intervention
  • develop a unique research and development environment
  • increase economic growth and new UK investment
  • improve data sharing, digital connectivity and access to data

A new research organisation, Our Future Health, has been established to lead this programme. UKRI Challenge Fund funding is expected to be matched by a £160 million investment from industry and charity partners.

Over time the project will develop into a new national resource to support the development of new diagnostic tools and technologies. To deliver this resource, volunteers will provide a blood sample for analysis and consent for access to their health records. Following participants over time will support research on the early detection of disease.

The participants will provide data over many years, which will be linked to NHS and other health-related records.

De-personalised data from this national resource will be used for approved research projects aimed at improving early detection, prevention and treatment of disease. Therefore, volunteers will be contributing to vital research even when they are not invited to join individual future studies.

Why we're doing it

At present the healthcare systems across the developed world are facing an increasing burden of managing chronic diseases and cancers seen in ageing populations. Many of these conditions are currently only detected at an advanced stage when they are much more difficult to treat effectively.

The programme led by Our Future Health aims to combine health and other data in conjunction with artificial intelligence to accelerate how diagnosis can be made earlier and more accurately.

The project will support the development of preventative strategies and allow earlier and more effective treatments to be developed.

Who to contact

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Last updated: 5 May 2023

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