Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Data to early diagnosis and precision medicine

This investment is supporting the development of precision medicine for improved early diagnosis and treatment of common life-changing diseases.

By funding UK businesses and academia, the challenge aims to accelerate the use of research and health data, delivering better health and economic growth.

£210 million
Runs until September 2023. All funding is committed.
Partners involved:
UKRI (lead), Innovate UK (main delivery council), Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Health Data Research UK

The scope and what we're doing

The investment in funding to UK businesses and academia aims to accelerate the use of research and health data.

The programme is comprised of three distinct but complimentary strands:

  • genomics
  • health data
  • centres for digital pathology, radiology, AI and machine learning, and enabling integrated diagnostics


This workstream supports large-scale whole genome sequencing for precision medicine. It includes:

  • whole genome sequencing of all 500,000 participants of the UK Biobank programme
  • projects involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that aim to use genomics to improve the treatment of cancer

For further information visit:

Health data

This programme run in partnership with Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) brings together routine NHS data with rich data from research and development programmes and provides analytics tools and data science support for businesses.

The programme is underpinned by establishment of the UK Health Data Research Alliance committed to enabling the use of health-related data at scale in the public good. HDR UK has also created the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway to ensure data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (“FAIR”).

In parallel a programme to build Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) will make health data available to researchers by building integrated and specialised high quality resources focused on the needs of academic and commercial researchers.

For further information visit:

Centres for digital pathology, radiology, AI and machine learning, and enabling integrated diagnostics

A network of five digital pathology, radiology, diagnostics and artificial intelligence (AI) research centres, using AI and digital systems to increase value of radiology and medical imaging for early diagnostics.

The network is complimented by the Integrated Diagnostics Programme. This programme supports projects involving multidisciplinary and cross-sector consortia to accelerate the development of innovative diagnostic tools and technologies. Projects involving cancer are delivered in partnership with Cancer Research UK.

For more information, or if you are a company developing AI in this field looking to collaborate, see links below to the network of centres and Integrated Diagnostics Programme projects.

Centres of excellence

The challenge has established five centres of excellence in medical imaging and pathology.

Each centre has established partnerships across the NHS, universities and industry. The centres are driving the development and adoption of innovative technology including artificial intelligence.

The investment is supporting the development of ways to diagnose diseases at an earlier stage, create better clinical decisions for patients, and free up more staff time for direct patient care across the NHS.

The five centres, based in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London, are:

Integrated Diagnostics Programme projects

The projects are:

Why we're doing it

The UK has globally significant health data that can be harnessed to drive innovation in early diagnosis and precision treatments of common life-changing diseases, in turn delivering better health and economic growth for the UK.

The scale of investment and coordination needed to capitalise on these strengths is beyond any individual business. It needs sustained, strategic, public-private partnership, with UKRI challenge fund support for ambitious goals and coordination.

Through its workstreams the challenge aims to achieve:

  • growth of UK companies and inward investment in diagnostics, imaging, AI and pharmaceuticals
  • development of centres of excellence and clusters of high-quality companies across the UK
  • overseas companies attracted to the UK, increasing UK footprint and creating jobs
  • increased efficiency in the NHS improving outcomes at lower cost
  • an increased share of the diagnostics and related markets

Opportunities, support and resources available

Find funding opportunities

Interoperability recommendations

A report published in September 2023 reviewing how the UK health data landscape can be as interoperable as possible.

The UK has lots of medical data that can be used to develop healthcare AI to help diagnose diseases early. But to do this, AI developers must be able to successfully create, train, validate and deploy these algorithms in all UK settings, so the landscape needs to be as ‘interoperable’ as possible.

This means that developers can access and interact with data from any manufacturers’ scanner, held in any archive and deploy their software within any NHS Trust without barriers caused by different technologies or policies.

Read the report: Data to early diagnosis and precision medicine challenge: interoperability recommendations.

Evaluation reports

HDR’s DIH programme has published the final collection of evaluation reports in September 2023, exploring how this innovative programme has created a strong and enduring foundation for the longer-term, more ambitious use of health data for public benefit.

Find out more at: A pioneering programme to establish a national infrastructure for health data science.

Last updated: 8 March 2024

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